“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Lately, as I have been connecting with leaders and discussing the state of their business, I have been noticing a trend when I ask, “How are you doing?” Some of the responses I have received include “drinking from a firehose;” “spinning a lot of plates;” “overwhelmed;” “dropping balls;” and “organized chaos.” Can you really organize chaos?
Yes, there are people that are more organized than others, and some personality factors (like perfectionism) play into how organized you are. However, a person is not born with organizational skills – you develop them. Organization and order are a foundational part of becoming an effective leader and by learning good organizational tools, it can shorten the road to your goal and create order from chaos!
As a leader, you are expected to keep everything running on schedule and create the vision for the future – how do you fit it all in? Here are three organizational tools that I have learned throughout my personal leadership journey:
- Time management. Poor time management is the root of many issues. Failure to manage your time well leaves you overwhelmed and eventually, all the plates you are spinning come crashing down – which can make you look unreliable and erode confidence from your team. A tool that I used early on was setting aside Monday as my “Management Monday.” I would set that day aside and use it to organize my week, check in with my management team, review financials and KPI’s, and focus on projects and strategy. It was my time to get out of the weeds and focus, and setting that time aside got my week off to a productive start. Other strategies that I implemented were time blocking, keeping my workspace organized, and color-coding my email inbox (green = sales; blue = financial; red = urgent; orange = projects, etc.)
- Prioritizing. I’m a list person. I have lists for my lists, and that has been a source of some teasing in my life. However, I have learned that creating a to-do list and understanding which deadlines come first every day is critical to managing business (and life) well. Every leader probably has a list filled with dozens of tasks that need to get done, as well as dozens of tasks they’d like to get done. All are important; however, not all are urgent. I remember the Steven Covey habit, “put first things first.” The key is to not prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities. I’ve linked the video below:
- Delegation. Delegation is a crucial component of good management. You cannot do it all if you want to maintain and grow a business! A leader must be okay with handing off items from their to-do list and managing to the outcome. This has multiple benefits – you get things off your list, your company accomplishes more, and you develop other members of your team in their skill sets. An effective leader will know their team and be aware of their individual strengths and weaknesses. Even more, they will tap into those resources when needed and let go of the micromanagement of every detail. Trust me, once you get used to delegation and letting go of the details, you’ll thank yourself every day!
Remember, progress over perfection! Organization is about efficiency, stress reduction, quality of life, and saving time and money!
We would love to work with you and your leadership team to lead with vision and manage with wisdom. Check out our website for more information on our consulting and advisory services. It’s lonely at the top, but it doesn’t have to be!