Every September, right after the 3-day Labor Day Weekend, the kids head back in school (yeah!!) and for many, summer is in the rear-view mirror! Change is in the air! So many people I know, personally and professionally, are busy “getting organized”, busy getting back in the swing of things, busy getting things done. My phone has been ringing off the hook – everybody is getting busy! So here is the Million Dollar Question: Are you planning to succeed, or are you just planning to be busy? Are you busy for the sake of being busy, or are you productively busy? Being busy is SUCH A TRAP! We get so caught up in the activity of “doing” that we miss the important stuff, like “thinking” and being creative. I have seen this topic/issue raise its ugly head over and over again in workshops and leadership coaching sessions. Many (unfortunately) executives teams admit they don’t have time to be creative, strategic, or take advantage of opportunities, because they are too busy doing… “managing” tasks.
Being busy is the LEADERSHIP death sentence! (Of course I realize great leaders are busy, but you know what I mean…) The #1 most common reason leaders opt to “do it themselves” is:“I don’t have time…(fill in the blank)” – I don’t have time to train anyone else how to do it; I don’t have time to delegate it, the deadline is up; I don’t have time to think; I don’t have time to …you get the picture, right? Our inability (I say “our” because I get caught in this trap too – it takes real discipline to get yourself out of it) to stop doing in favor of leading is a detriment to our success. Take a minute, breathe, and ask yourself, how can I break this cycle. The top three reasons we “spin” are:
- 1. I don’t have time to ______.
- 2. I’ve done this before. (which translates into “I can do it faster than anyone else”)
- 3. I already know how to do this, so…. (in my mind, related to #2)
I bet you can think of multiple time-robbing tasks you should probably delegate to someone else, but 1. you don’t have time to train anyone, and 2. you’ve been doing it, so you must be faster and better than anyone else. Ask yourself: “What is this ‘strategy’ costing you?” In dealing with business leaders and executives, I promise you – it is a hefty price:
- missed opportunities ($$$$);
- lack of strategic thinking ($$$);
- chaotic time management ($$);
- team loses respect for leader ($$$$);
- not seen as a player, only as a doer ($$$)
If this too expensive a price to pay, take a minute to stop doing, get out of the way, and start thinking!
If you are interested in moving forward in your career, advancing your business, or growing your people, stop managing the tasks and start leading your people. Stop being busy, and start being strategic.
Stop doing, start thinking.