Learn how to identify distractions and focus your team on the most strategically important initiatives for your organization.
In a fast paced world, there is no shortage of distractions. Side projects, interesting new ideas, and the crisis of the day can divert resources from key strategic initiatives. In isolation, pursuing these small ideas make sense, but when you put them in the broader context of your strategic initiatives, you get to see exactly how nonstrategic these distractions are. You have to remind people of their priorities. Eliminate these resource-draining distractions. Chasing these ideas prevents your strategy from being executed.
My firm is a leadership training firm. We create courses. We go to our clients and we teach them and we go home. I try to keep the team really focused on our core business. I know what our strategic priorities are and if a new idea isn’t aligned with the strategy, I try to say no. My instructors come to me all the time to pitch me new course ideas. Sometimes they’ll want to make changes to an existing course that already scores well on our evaluations. Occasionally, I’ll have a partner come along with an idea that’s off strategy like running simulations or offering assessments. My job in leading the firm is being able to say, “Here’s our strategy and that idea is off strategy. It’s a distraction and we’re not going to do it.” My resources are limited. I want to focus them on the most strategically important initiatives.
For you to eliminate some of these distractions, first run any idea through the strategic filters that you built when you laid out your strategic plan. Put those ideas on your prioritization list and see where they stack up versus other initiatives. For any new idea, analyze the cost and benefits of starting this project and look at what it’s going to cost to stop another one. Your resources are limited too. If you’re going to start something new, you have to stop doing something else. Finally, force people to complete business cases for any idea that’s going to require resources. They have to prove that this will be a valuable use of your finite team.
Your ability to eliminate distractions and keep the team focused on the highest priority initiatives is going to accelerate the pace at which your strategy gets executed.
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