When Operations Impede Progress

March 27, 2014 4:41 am

Taking the daily operational hat off to focus on the future can be a challenge for the most
adept business owner or manager. The day to day running of our businesses and
organisations often demand our all, leaving little energy and focus for anything else. We tend
to get caught up at ground level, fighting fires, dealing with staff issues and meeting budgetary shortfalls. Our minds are on making today happen, often neglecting the future planning and strategic progress that is so essential for success. When this is our ‘normal’, the ideal future gets delayed. The switch of hats, from operations to strategy needs to be a planned activity as more often than not, does not occur on its own.

A study in recent years concerning the disciplines of Australia’s leading CEO’s revealed that of the top three practices, the scheduling of time out for weekly review and reflection along with planning the future were paramount to their success. We would do well to practice the same. Being able to jump off at regular intervals the business or organisational boat we are sailing on; to sit on the sand and stare out at the horizon – thinking, planning, reflecting, will help us when jumping back onto the boat in operational mode. Time out and spent in this manner will enable us to take the ship more directly to its destination. These are some areas to centre on when taking practising this discipline:
– Review of the progress and results in recent days and weeks – the good the bad the ugly
– Key issues requiring immediate attention
– Activities that are irrelevant to the current journey and need to be stopped
– What were the successes and how can we further build on them?
– Where are we sailing to? What is our destination? Are we on track as far as the milestones previously established?

Taking time out to Review, Reflect and Plan is essential for managers and owners if they are to effectively lead and manage a growing organisation.