Learn how to create white space as a leader to better reflect, think, and act intentionally for the betterment of the entire organization.
- When I sit with a CEO for the first time they often tell me, "My schedule is out of whack and we're not hitting our objectives, and I feel burned out." They'll often comment they want their life back. They're missing things and neglecting their family. I tell them let's look at your calender and see how you're investing your time or wasting it. My goal is to look at what he or she is doing with their white space and where they can create more time so they can work on their business, not in it. If you find yourself in this situation where you feel burned out or your schedule is out of whack, use my Ask, Answer, Act approach. First, ask what was supposed to happen that didn't? For example, were you supposed to hit a quarterly sales number? Look at your calender. It's the one thing you can absolutely control. If it helps, open it up right now and pause this video and look at how you spend or invest your time. Did you spend your time on urgent and important items akin to firefighting or purely important things that are absolutely related to those goals? One of the best tools you have is the power of the question. Just like a physician, a great set of questions is the best path to a correct diagnosis. This is reflection at its best because it allows you to look at issues with a different lens at different angles. Second, answer and describe what actually happened. Honestly confront the brutal facts. Search for opposing perspectives and compare choices. Was your time invested or spent? Do you see a lot of unnecessary status meetings where no decision-making is happening? When you're honest with yourself of how you are actually spending your time, this will lead to making better decisions regarding your time, decisions based on your values, what you hold dear, and the criteria you feel are critical success factors. Third, act based on what needs to change. What is it only you can do? Make the same level of commitment for your time that you would for scheduling a meeting with another person. Muster the courage to move beyond your comfort zone and status quo and turn your aspirations into action. Ultimately, how you spend your time impacts execution. Act is also about directing others. Not rolling up your sleeves and doing the work but spending time thinking. Act is about creating the right environment, free of distractions, so that others can execute. Ask is the power of the question, answer is about reflection that leads to a decision and act is the art of influence so your decision is successfully executed. Keep in mind, it's your job to continue to prioritize so you can monitor and focus on what only you can do. The elusive balance on the outside is all about discipline from the inside.