"I have one reason for being on this board," Dave said. "To make you a better leader."
To say the least, I was intimidated. I had been leading the organization for all of two weeks. This was my first executive role. The board meeting we had just finished was my very first board meeting. I'd never met Dave before and these were the first words out of his mouth.
Though I had never heard of an executive coach before, apparently I now had one -- a really good one.
Over the last 25 years, Dave has taught me a great many things. I will forever be grateful for his investment in me as a leader and a person. Perhaps the most important thing he taught me was also the first.
"You have a strategic plan?" he asked me one day.
"Of course," I replied.
"How many years?"
"Good. You have quarterly progress assessments?" he asked.
"Yes," I said.
"Good. You have a daily task list?"
"Obviously." By now I was really wondering where this was going. Then he punched me in the gut. (Not literally, of course.)
"How much of what is on your daily task list is directly related to your strategic plan?" he asked.
He just let me stew in that new revelation for a bit. How were we ever going to accomplish our strategic priorities if almost nothing we do every day is related to it?
While I felt like an idiot at the time, I've since realized that this is an extremely common problem. Executing on your strategy is a challenge. In fact, according to Bridges Business Consultancy, only 2% of leaders are confident they will achieve at least 80% of their strategic priorities.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Two out of every 100 think they'll accomplish eight out of ten priorites. Why? Because there's a missing piece in our planning. Here's what Dave taught me:
"Humans operate in days and weeks," he told me. "A multi-year strategy is absolutely necessary, but it's only worthwhile if it affects what you do every day. If you wait three months to assess how you're doing, it's too late. You've spent 90 days, 13 weeks getting off track and it's nearly impossible to get back on. You need a mechanism to connect the dots between your big picture strategy and your daily task list. You need a weekly plan."
Over the next year he drilled into me principles of weekly planning that forver transformed my work. I've sinced taught them to hundreds of leaders in countries all over the world. Every leader who consistently implements them achieves more.
How about you? How will you finish 2023? Maybe the more important question is, how will you do in 2024?
I guarantee if you connect the dots between your daily task list and your top priorities with a weekly plan, you'll achive more.
If you'd like to learn and implement the principles Dave taught me, I have a few spaces open in the Accelerate program. You can click here for more information.