I have the privilege of working with senior leaders from the private and public sector. I executive coach them in a range of areas including planning, prioritisation, time management, delegation, coaching for high performance and other key areas. The coaching focus ranges depending on the nature of the coaching but the key outcomes around successful coaching should be driven by focussing on the outcomes they are looking to achieve.
Talking specifically about planning and prioritisation, there is a real focus on how they value their time and energy. Time and energy for me are the two most valuable assets that a senior leader can have. It is really important that they do everything to build this, maintain this and sustain it long term for the things that really matter.
There are two key aspects that I utilise to really bring this home to leaders. The first key technique is ensuring the leader plays to their strengths. They need to be clear on what are their strengths, their key focus areas and key outcomes they are looking to deliver. They then are coached to play to their strengths, get clear on weaknesses and ensure there are others they can delegate to and assign key activities to tasks that still ensure the organisation runs well.
The second key technique that I work through that I think is just as important is the value of a stop doing list. Most leaders have their task lists on what they are going to do and by when nicely prioritised and aligned to outcomes. This is a great foundation but can tend to overwhelm and possibly focus the leader on being busy but not productive. It also can tend to machine gun actions or tasks out to the team creating ripples of questionable value in terms of activity that adds minimal value to the organisation.
The stop doing list is as simple as it sounds. I encourage the leader to have a stop doing list next to them and they literally spend a fortnight noting policies, initiatives or key activities that add little or no value in the organisation. In addition to this, it also extends to activities, meetings or tasks they are doing that they could cease. An extremely powerful concept in really freeing up valuable time to think, plan and actually achieve meaningful outcomes that benefit the organisation and themselves.
To stop doing things is just as powerful in my opinion as the start doing list. It might sound challenging to fill up but take the opportunity to do it in the next fortnight and come back to me with your thoughts. It will literally create the space you need to be a truly effective and constructive leader.