I wrote a recent blog that talked about the chasing of revenue that many organisations pursue to the detriment of focussing on profit. It provoked good interest from our blog followers including a regular blog follower and client called Adam who always has some great insights and comments with respect to the topics we raise.
One of the comments he mentioned that really struck a chord with me is how many leaders are like moths to the proverbial lightbulb in being attracted to many activities, initiatives and tasks rather than focussing on completing what they set out to achieve. In short, they respond to everything, and are busy rather than productive.
So why does this happen? Why do most leaders struggle to stay the journey, work the plans and remain focussed? My belief is that it comes down to discipline, focus and execution. I will work through each of these areas in more detail below.
In terms of discipline, this comes down to how well they plan, how they execute positive habits, and how they respond to the urgent. Do they try to do everything or are they disciplined enough to say no, focus on the big rocks rather than pebbles and prioritise their organisations precious time and energy? Discipline is hard but not as painful as the price of regret of trying to be everything to everyone.
Focus in my opinion is also a vastly underrated quality of great leaders. They plan, they prioritise and they focus on what is important. They don’t allow distractions to deter their path towards delivery of agreed commitments, they keep their staff focussed and they ensure that by remaining vigilant there is great outcomes in achieving their well laid plans.
The last point is the ability to execute. Again, this is underrated by most leaders which I equate to their ability to deliver actions, complete the last ten percent of an activity and have a bias for action. The need to make things happen, hold people to account and ensure our systems and processes deliver are all aspects of the ability to execute that is important to proactive leadership.
Note the key point around proactive versus reactive leadership. Do you react when the next urgent task or great idea comes your way or do you filter, focus, remain disciplined and determined to work your plans that will deliver the outcomes you intended?
There is no coincidence that the moth with the lightbulb does not end well. Reactive leadership is similar in that it is not sustainable, it burns people out and leads you to places that don’t always have a happy ending. Be proactive, shape your own destiny and drive towards outcomes that deliver results. A good strategic plan that is executed is a much better approach than ten brilliant strategies that never see the light of day because a little is down but never fully delivered!