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In the topic 'Goals and Priorities'


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Stupid Busy: Is Your Leadership Team Overloading Your Organization?

For decades, Harvard professor Michael Porter has studied, written about, and consulted top companies and countries on competitive strategy. He’s found that “the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” A recent issue of Harvard Business Review features an article on “Too Many Projects.” Authors Rose Hollister and Michael Watkins write, “Leaders keep […]

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Time to Assess How You’re Using Your Time?

An old fable tells of a farmer with a wagon brimming full of cabbage heading to a new market. He stops for directions and asks, “How far is it to the market?” The man replies, “It’s about an hour if you go slowly but if you rush it will take all day.” It was a […]

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It’s That Time of Year: How Strategic is Your Use of Time?

Imagine a large jar filled to the brim with golf balls. Is it full? What if marbles were slowly poured in as the jar was shaken until no more could be added? Now is it full? How about sand being trickled into the jar as it’s vigorously jiggled? When the sand reaches the brim is […]

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Podcast: Leveraging Leadership Time

I was interviewing a senior executive to prepare for an offsite planning retreat and I asked about the biggest challenges facing the leadership team. He wearily replied it was their unfocused frantic pace of activity.  “We have lots of projects, goals, and priorities. We’re constantly making lists and setting action plans. But we seldom see […]

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Are Urgent Operational Issues Crowding Out Your Strategic Effectiveness?

There are many reasons leadership teams allow their priorities to be badly distorted. Things that matter most — team dynamics, key strategic priorities, and organization change and development efforts — are often crowded out by things that matter least — the crisis du jour or technical problems better solved by those closest to the action. […]

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Overcoming The 7 Deadly Time Traps for Leaders

In a recent Leadership Team Retreat we used a survey based on 7 Deadly Time Traps for Leaders. The biggest trap this team fell into was Acceleration and Overload. This was closely followed by Reactive and Busyness and Coaching Skills. We agreed these three areas were intertwined. These were creating a growing sense of frantic […]

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7 Deadly Time Traps for Leaders

Recently I was asked to speak at a CEO forum on strategic use of the CEO’s time. This was a great opportunity to review the common themes emerging from our  keynotes and workshops and leadership team retreats. These time traps apply to anyone in a leadership role, but especially to senior executives. How many of […]

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How to Conquer Digital Overload

A New Yorker cartoon shows two people standing at a bar having a glass of wine. One is peering over the top of a tall dog cone around his neck and explains to the other “It keeps me from checking my phone every two seconds.” The Information Overload Research Group reports that “knowledge workers in […]

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Effective Leaders are Proactive not Reactive With their Time

Time is the great equalizer. We all get exactly the same amount of it every day. What a leader does with his or her daily time allotment distinguishes good, bad, and extraordinary leaders. Many less effective leaders are sucked into the busyness trap trying to keep up with their daily deluge of e-mails and stream […]

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Becoming a More Focused Leader with Emotional Agility

Where did 2013 go?! Were the days of the past year a tornado of multi-tasking juggling endless e-mails, phone calls, hurried hallway conversations, and racing between meetings? Did you spend countless hours putting out fires and responding to one problem after another? A major leadership — and life — skill in today’s crazy-busy times is […]

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Five Steps to Making Time for the Work That Matters

Are you frustrated and overwhelmed by a flood of e-mails, meetings, and endless administrative tasks? Does it feel like the harder you work, the less you accomplish? In their article, “Make Time for the Work that Matters,” in the September issue of Harvard Business Review, London Business School professor Julian Birkinshaw and productivity consultant Jordan […]

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Research Shows Strong Leaders Aren’t Controlled by Technology and Workloads

Work overload, 24/7 availability, stretched work weeks, and overflowing in-boxes are overwhelming most professionals and managers. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can be the less stressed out exception. You can Lead, rather than Follow or Wallow. Linda Duxbury, a professor at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University was recently […]

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The Dutch Polder Model: Focusing on Our Common Goals

During our April trip to The Netherlands, I was fascinated by the extensive water management skills the Dutch developed over decades of draining and reclaiming land. After learning that 25% of the country is below and 50% is at sea level it’s very clear why this region of Europe is known as “the lowlands.” Polders […]

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The Seven Sins of Learning Impaired Management Teams

My last blog post looked at using the Holiday Season as a reminder of the importance of reviewing, assessing, celebrating, and refocusing – both at home and at work. Besides energizing us, it’s critical to our ongoing learning and development. In offsite retreats and workshops, management teams agree on how critically important it is for […]

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Another Study on Slowing Down to Speed Up

The pace is frenzied – even desperate – in most organizations today. Restructuring, revamping IT systems, and reengineering processes are just a few of the major initiatives driving big changes across organizations. At departmental levels projects, goals and objectives, and operational bottlenecks expand exponentially. Add with today’s 24/7, always on and always connected technology, all […]

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Reader Reflections on Frantic Busyness, Priority Overload, and The Acceleration Trap

I am glad to see that last month’s newsletter (The Leader Letter) theme of spring clean up, To-Stop lists, busyness, and The Acceleration Trap touched a nerve with many readers. It’s a complex, multi-layered, and very serious problem at personal, team, and organizational levels. Following are some thoughtful reflections and observations on the topic: “I […]

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Thoughts that Make You Go Hmmm…on Reducing Priority Overload

There’s an epidemic of frantic busyness, multi-tasking, project overload, way too many goals, and tyranny of the urgent. An old folk saying reminds us “the hurrier I go the behinder I get.” A theme running through many recent blog postings has been the critical need to be more focused, disciplined, and strategic with our personal, […]

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The Acceleration Trap: Frantic Busyness and Priority Overload is Overwhelming Way Too Many Teams and Organizations

As I was preparing to facilitate a senior management team retreat and planning session I came across an excellent Harvard Business Review article on the huge problem of frantic busyness and priority overload. This was especially timely since the executive team was debating how they’ll deal with a long list of urgent projects, goals, and […]

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Spring Clean-Up: Does Your Team Keep an Active To-Stop List?

Last weekend was perfect weather to clean up our perennial garden. After a few days of much needed heavy rains, the sun was shining again. The garden was springing back to life with plenty of green shoots (sadly, the deer and rabbits did chew off a few) and vigorous growth. So it was time to […]

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Tips for Setting Team or Organizational Goals and Priorities

Ensure you’re following the three keys to effective goals and priorities: 1) Follow-up; 2) Follow-up; and 3) Follow-up. Continuously communicate how your strategic imperatives connect to your vision, values, and purpose. Set goals and priorities from the outside (customers) in and help everyone see the big picture and where they fit in it. Keep the […]

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