How many priorities do you (or your team) have?
There can only be one priority, by definition. We can have many things that are important to us, but only one priority. Strategy can tell our teams what our priority is, what things are important to achieving that priority, and what things will not help to achieve that priority.
We all have to deal with things that do not directly help. However, there is an 80 / 20 rule: Strategy enables us to ensure that we spend 80% of our time on the things that directly contribute to the priority or are important, and 20% of our time on the things that are tactical or do not help us in any way at all.
Some professions take this to an extreme. My wife is an accountant. Every week she has to account for her time, and charge as much as appropriately proper to clients. At the accounting firms in which she worked in the UK she would typically have 95% to 97% of her time billable each week. This could only be achieved by understanding her goal, and ensuring her time was spent appropriately.
Do you know what your priority is? How much of your time is spent each week on your priority? How much of your time is spent on distractions?
Strategic Leadership causes and organization to most effectively accomplish a vision. This can only be achieved if all of the alternative routes to accomplishing the vision are assessed and the one that would achieve the vision with the best use of resources is pursued.
The best use of resources can only be determined if the resource usage of the alternatives are compared, which implies that models for each of the alternatives are developed and assessed.
These models can only be developed using information about the resource usage and outcomes of the alternatives. A leader cannot lead strategically without having access to likely costs and outcomes of alternative strategies for accomplishing the mission. To pretend that this can happen otherwise would be like trying to drive a car most economically without a way to measure fuel usage or distance travelled.
Any organization that cannot access detailed information about its resource usage or outcomes is not leading strategically.
My colleagues and I spent a long time trying to define Strategic Leadership. We concluded that the definition is:
Strategic leadership engages people in creative thinking, planning and execution to most effectively accomplish the vision.
This can be broken down as:
Having a strategy enables you to say “no” to pursing ideas that do not get you to the end goal that you want to achieve in the best possible manner. Being a servant and wanting to please others are not reasons for doing everything that anyone wants you to do.
I’ve observed that there is a correlation between having a strategy and saying “no” to pursuinging new ideas. More specifically, there seems to be a strong correlation between not having a strategy and not saying “no” to pursuing new ideas.
How often do you say “no” to ideas that are put before you because you know that they really are not the best thing for you to do?
To be the bset servant that you can, you need to know what the best contribution is that you can make towards the work of others, and pursue that with as few distractions as possible.
Some coaching questions for CCCI National Teams (NTs):
- At what Stage is your country?
- According to the definition of a Stage in the E-Team document “Stages of National Ministry and Leadership (2).docx”, what are the requirements for your country to move to the next Stage?
- Based upon the CCC Global Direction “inverted pyramid” diagram definition of a Movement in the document “CCC Planning Pyramid 7-11-11.pdf” how would you define a working Movement in your country?
- In what ways do the ministry in your country not meet your definition of a movement?
- What are the things that need to have changed in the current (non-movement) ministry in your country to make it comply with your definition of a movement?
- What are the biggest things that need to have changed by the end of June 2013 to move the (non-movement) ministry in your country the greatest amount towards your definition of a movement?
- What are the three things that you need to do during the next 12 months in order to effect the biggest things that need to have changed by the end of June 2013 to move the ministry in your country the greatest amount towards your definition of a movement?
The questions build upon each other, and by the end the questions are complex. However, if the questions are answered in the above sequence, then the steps from answering one question to the next should not be too great.
At the end of this process the National Teams should have a three step action plan to most effectively develop movements that move them towards the next stage. All that matters then is that each national team staff member does everything that they can over the next 12 months to implement these three steps.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the hardest question from a supervisor to answer is:
How do you know that you are most effectively achieving progress towards your goal?
This is really hard to answer because, in order to answer it:
- you have to know what your goal is,
- you have to demonstrate progress towards the goal, which means that historical progress has to have been tracked,
- you have to show that you have looked at all alternatives to achieving the goal, and that no other process will have caused you have made more progress than you have made.