Finding Time for Everything, Time Secrets of Powerful Teams

If you are up to something big, like growing a business, you probably never have enough time.

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Here’s the thing though – finding time for the truly important things is an issue that all leaders and teams deal with. We are all busy.  But, we are all waiting for that elusive, magical moment when we have more time, when things get easier, when today’s crisis is over and done with.

Stop kidding yourself. That is a fantasy that is never going to happen. 

You know how life is; something always comes up and gets in the way. How we choose to deal with it defines us and sets the tone for our personal and professional lives. The only way we truly find more time is when we lose our jobs, big clients, or relationships end.

Is this you? Way too busy to take time to plan or meet? I see it all the time with fast growing client companies today. Scaling up is is not easy and there’s rarely time for important and strategic work when you are already busy.

In 2010, we were in the middle of a major growth phase with our business but I felt like the wheels were about to come off my bus. My fitness was declining and my waist expanding, our business execution was full of emergencies and breakdowns, and I could never seem to make time for date night with my wife Lori. My team was in the same place; I could never seem to corral them to all get on the same page.

Back in 2008, before the economic crash, we were chugging along in very predictable patterns. But then the world changed and markets shifted. After the initial shock, we made changes and before long, our innovations began to pay off in a big way. Sales were up; we were hiring, and adding production and partners everywhere. Things were trending up but we were also losing control.

I wish I could say that we learned our lesson quickly, got ahead of the curve, and implemented good meeting rhythms and prioritization habits, but we didn’t. My delay in planning, prioritizing, and committing our schedules cost us dearly in so many ways. The costs were painful and I knew better. Eventually we put in regular team meetings but I wish I hadn’t waited so long.

Today I have learned to schedule in our weekly leadership meetings, the daily huddle, quarterly planning days, and all the personal stuff that keep me happy and healthy. But, scheduling is maybe the hardest thing I do with our business coaching clients.

The key meetings and time you’ll need to Scale Up a business run just over 7 days a year:

  • 10 minute daily huddle,
  • 1 hour for a weekly meeting,
  • 1.5 days for quarterly planning, and
  • 2 days for annual strategy and plans.

The 2 best time hacks for leaders are covered in my next article, at the link below.

The first few meetings are really hard to fit in. The secret is not to worry about the near term or full attendance, but to schedule out the next 2 years and get at least 75% of your leadership there. Relax about the first few weeks. Pretty soon all the irregular demands and emergencies will fill in around the standing appointments you have designed in. They will become integrated as regular rhythms.

And guess what? Before you know it, you’ll have important booked in before urgent hits you.

The lessons of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People tells us that we need to focus on important things before the urgent things. Again, this sounds simple but is much harder in practice. It is natural to want to put out the fire first, but tending to the things that keep that fire from reoccurring again and again is actually a lot more important.

Would you like the two best personal time hacks for leaders? Get the second article here and learn the other 2 execution habits in our Scaling Up Workshops.

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