Strategic work is one of the most critical that a leader has to do. A strategy is how the business is set out to achieve its objectives and goals. Therefore, to attain them, leadership needs to focus on the necessary long-term business actions. Also, they need to make decisions and allocate resources to support the action plan to achieve those goals. There is no doubt you need to spend time to make this happen. The question is, how much do you invest in strategy time?
Why leaders do not spend enough on strategy time
When you run a business, especially if you are a solopreneur, you wear various hats every day. You start the day with the firm intention of completing your tasks for the day. Perhaps, working on your long-term business plans is one of them. However, instead of analyzing trends and thinking about a new product or service, you find yourself putting out fires.
It is hard to let go of the day-to-day operation. When you don’t have skilled people to handle it, it is almost impossible. Nevertheless, success depends on how you manage the situation. It is too risky not to solve problems before they are too big to handle. For example, your customers are waiting for quick and satisfactory resolutions to their problems.
Thinking about and create a new strategy to achieve business goals is a huge undertaking. If you choose the wrong one, you could lose market share, money, or even credibility. Perhaps the fear of failure is what prevents you from spending time working on strategy.
What can you do to have more strategy time?
There are three things that you can do to have more time to work on your business strategy. You can develop your team skills, delegate, and schedule strategic work.
Most of the time, the cause of firefighting is unstable processes that are lacking standards. Therefore, you would have to work on stabilizing them. Simple tools like 5S and PDCS will help with that task. Later use problem-solving to start moving the needle in the right direction. Using the 5 Why and Cause and Effect, you can develop your team skills. Consequently, they can take care of solving day-to-day problems following a set structure.
Delegation is not as simple as asking somebody to do some of your tasks. First, you need to identify what tasks you can delegate. Second, see who from your team is a candidate to learn those tasks. Analyze their current skills, education, experience, and interests to find the best fit.
Schedule your strategic work
To ensure that you spend time on strategic work, put it on your calendar. This activity is not for the end of the year only. For instance, you should work on long-term planning throughout the year. There are two parts, check on the current strategy performance and work on the future.
Set aside chunks of time to think about the future. Whenever an idea pops into your mind, make a note. Then, work on enhancing them during strategic work time. Imagine how those ideas connect with your current operation.
Putting something on the calendar does not mean that it will happen. You will need to create the habit to work on strategy. For example, use a calendar reminder as your trigger for the creation routine. Reward yourself with something nice that you enjoy. After all, you will be one step closer to the goal.
You start with a dream, a goal, something big you want to achieve with your business. To reach that goal, you have to create a map, a list of actions that the company needs to take. Those actions or strategy is what would bridge the gap between goal and achievement.
Visionary leaders take time to imagine the future and build ways to go there. You can do that by thinking ahead. Think about how the market would change and how the business needs to adapt. Or what new product or service would help to solve a customer problem.
Focusing on day by day is important, but the long-term approach is vital for business growth. As the owner or top leader, the time you spend on strategic thinking is very well invested. When you develop your team skills, you can step back from at least some daily tasks. Whenever that happens, you can spend the much-needed time on strategic work.