MUST DO, NEED TO DO, NICE TO DO

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The business climate in the U.S. and around the world has been good for more than a year. For those with retirement accounts your final statements will be arriving soon and most will see values up 20-30%. It’s a good bet too that your business has also seen an increase. As a result maybe you’ve invested in new equipment and personnel, or maybe you’ve expanded operations.

How do busy ECPs manage expanding workflows effectively? My advice is to adopt a disciplined practical approach to managing your business that revolves around the leadership you provide. Since acquiring First Vision Media Group the workload has increased substantially from one publication to four. Add in operations, integration, personnel and offices 500 miles apart, and often there are not enough hours in a day.

You’ve all heard about the 80/20 rule, which, in its simplest form, states that 80% of your results are gained through 20% of your efforts. If you can identify the 20% of your “task list” that’s most important in the moment, you can concentrate on areas that will bring you the greatest gains.

Years ago a good friend and business advisor Ron Smith suggested the following simple and straightforward method to me. He wanted me to clearly differentiate between those things that are more urgent from those that are important but don’t need immediate attention. Making use of this simple technique may also help you more effectively lead your company in the coming months.

THERE ARE THINGS YOU MUST DO.
Items in this circle are critical and need your attention this week. These will be exclusive to your company and could include collecting outstanding invoices, streamlining your operations to eliminate unnecessary expenses, creating new marketing that brings in new business and reviewing frame boards to reduce inventory and focus on top sellers.

THERE ARE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO.
Items in this circle are on the horizon and will be in your Must Do circle within the month. These might include paying bills (on time), reevaluating current contracts and renegotiating where possible, assessing your company healthcare plan and looking for and evaluating new hires.

THERE ARE THINGS THAT WOULD BE NICE TO DO.
Items on this list should be longer-range goals and plans. However, often these are also the “fun items” and the things you “like to do” that don’t bring the company the 80% value that you’re looking for. Additionally, these items also find their way into the center of the circle, pushing out Must Do items, causing you to fall behind and interfering with your effectiveness. These are luxury items that can seriously detract from the Must Do and Need To Do items.

Don’t fool yourself. If items are not critical, then they belong in the Nice To Do circle. I’ve found that after several months of diligently following this plan that not only do I catch up I get ahead and the Nice To Do items naturally fall into place. I hope this plan works for you as well.

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