Focus on three things only to make a cracking start to 2017

If 2016 taught us anything, it’s taught us that nothing is predictable.

The boat has been rocked, and it’s going to keep on rocking in 2017.  This has a huge impact on everyone who leads and manages leadership teams.

Because ‘same old, same old’ just isn’t going to work anymore.

This is the verdict of executive and team coach Lynn Scott who over the last year, has worked with more than 60 leaders in fast-growing businesses large and small.  The businesses differ vastly but each one is continually challenged to deliver more with less when we’ve no idea what might be round the next corner.

Lynn believes that with so much uncertainty it’s easy to fall into one of these three traps – none of which benefits our business:

  1. Feel like a rabbit in the headlights and do nothing;
  2. Focus on the minutiae and detail that is right in front of our noses (what Lynn calls our ‘busy-ness comfort zone’) and avoid trying to look into the future;
  3. Make grandiose plans which we’ll probably have to scrap come March.

So how do leaders move into 2017 and steer their own ships given all the noise, upset, ambiguity and unknowns that we’re facing in the immediate future?

Lynn believes that there are 3 things that leaders should focus on in the first quarter of 2017.  And they might not be what you think.

Lynn says ‘forget the latest fad, guru, expert and shiny new object.  These are all there to distract you from what you really need to focus on right now.

Focus on these three things instead:

  1. Ask yourself and your team ‘what are we doing that is stupid?’ Then stop doing it.  You need a ‘to don’t’ list as much as a ‘to do’ list.  So stop attending or chairing meetings which don’t move the dial (if you don’t add or provide value, stop going); stop writing overly-long reports that no-one reads (with fancy-shmancy graphics that take ages to produce and don’t add much in the way of information) and stop obsessively checking email.  Three times a day is enough.
  2. If your team isn’t working as well as it should then 2017 is the year to sort this out once and for all. Seriously dysfunctional teams often need to be broken up.  Poor performing team members need honest feedback and clear goals to help them get back on track – if that doesn’t work; it’s time to let them go.  Every -one is waiting for you to take action, here.  And forget those ‘off-sites’ that don’t get to the heart of what’s really holding you back.  Rafts and paint-balling aren’t going to fix things – at least, not in the long term.
  3. Make ‘thinking time’ a key focus area. Start with one hour a week.  I recommend this to all my clients and they have been significantly more successful without working harder.  I can’t stress the importance of this highly enough.  Go for a walk, get away from the office.  I guarantee you’ll get your best ideas when you’re not sitting at your desk.’

Lynn concludes:  ‘Those leaders that focus on the three key areas above will be more successful without working harder and their teams and organisations will benefit too.  And the beauty of this is that every leader can take responsibility for these three things immediately.  They are beautifully simple.  And with all the complexity around us, simplicity is just what we need right now.

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