Why Effective Leaders Don’t Have Cluttered Desks

I used to wonder why it was that when I visit well-respected leaders their desks are clear of clutter. In most cases, there are only one or a few folders on their desks. And although scheduling time with them was often somewhat difficult, they never seemed in a frantic rush to get through the meeting and on to other things.

It turns out that effective leaders are very good at two things:

First, they identify the top few things that they must do that day and disregard all the rest. The next day, they do it again. There is no long to-do list — just 1-3 tasks that they will focus on each day. All the other things are pushed aside and abandoned because they don’t make it to the top.

The second thing they do is tackle one task at a time. They do not multi-task. Because they work at a constant pace, tackling one task, then another, they get better results than the leaders who try to multi-task.

As I tell my clients, move one thing forward a mile instead of many things forward an inch.

When you focus on the one most important task, you can have a clutter-free desk. There is no need for the distraction of heaps of papers or files.

Try it.

How to Align Priorities

As a leader, you need to make sure that priorities are aligned throughout your organization, and that people are working on those priorities. To accomplish alignment, do the following:

  1. Provide context continuously. This means the big picture – what is our business strategy? What is the role of different parts of the organization in achieving that strategy?
  2. Check priorities regularly. Tell your associates what your priorities are. Say, “This is what I am focusing on.” Then ask each of them, “What are you focusing on?”

Without the context and priorities, people will do what they think are the priorities and they may be very different from what you need from them.

For example, a manager might do what will reflect well on her career. Or a manager might want to create overly complex or sophisticated processes, instead of what will help achieve overall business goals. People have conflicting demands; make sure they are working on the right ones.

I worked with a large organization on strategy and structure of a rapidly-growing division which was structured around serving a specific market, and the intent was to strengthen the focus. But in conversations with the CEO and COO it became clear that the overall business strategy called for a new purpose and structure that would add tremendous value to both the overall organization and to specific market. The context provided vital direction.

If you really want to sharpen focus, send a short email to each associate noting what you discussed, agreed to with time frame.

Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
___________________________
I am a trusted advisor on strategy implementation and executive effectiveness to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. My work helps leaders drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.

If you want to seize new opportunities, dramatically improve your leadership effectiveness, and free-up more time for yourself and your family, contact me.
My website is www.boblegge.com
Contact me at: bob (at) boblegge.com

Here’s How to Set Priorities

You’re the leader. 

That means you choose the music that everyone dances to.  You need to be out in front and leading, providing direction and ideas that excite and motivate followers.  Here are my four best tips on setting priorities at the top.

  1. Be focused on what needs to be done in the future.  Don’t set priorities that will bog you down in the past.
  2. Look to seize opportunities rather than fix problems.
  3. Concentrate on accomplishing something challenging; something that will make a difference.
  4. Limit your priorities to a small number.  You’ll end-up getting much farther.

Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
___________________________
I am a trusted advisor to leaders of Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, nonprofits, education, and government. My work helps leaders drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce faster, sustainable growth and value.

If you want to dramatically improve your leadership effectiveness, and free-up more time for yourself and your family, give me a call.

My website is http://www.boblegge.com

Contact me at: bob.legge (at) leggecompany.com

 

 

Have More Time for Your Priorities

Here are three suggestions to significantly reduce demands on your time:

  • Attract, develop, and retain really good people who report to you. This is very highest priority because direct reports who do not perform well cause you to have to step in and work at their level. When you do that, you are also underperforming. Get great people so you can add the highest value.
  • Formulate and articulate a very clear mission or purpose. A mission forces you and your organization to focus on what is important. Say no to things that may be attractive, but aren’t aligned with your purpose.
  • Leaders are under tremendous pressure to do way too many things. It’s a mistake to try to do 20 different things. Instead, choose 1-2 priorities each day and say no to everything else. Move the 1-2 things ahead a mile instead of moving 20 things forward an inch.
Copyright 2018 Bob Legge
___________________________
I provide leaders with the ability to exceed their most ambitious goals. I advise and consult with leaders to increase their effectiveness and improve work/life balance. Together, we drive strategy, lead successful change, develop high performance cultures, improve individual and organizational performance, and produce sustainable growth and value.
If you want to seize new opportunities, dramatically improve your leadership effectiveness, and free-up more time for your priorities, contact me. Together, we’ll explore ways to work together.
My website is www.boblegge.com
Contact me at: bob.legge@leggecompany.com.