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#Business Strategy #Operational Excellence


Author: Dorota Sajewicz
In guidebooks advising in business and directing one's life path, you will read a great deal about numerous theories of managing yourself in time – about the organization of life and business, strategic or tactical planning, etc. All these theories revolve around one goal, which is to deliver an answer to the question – how to make the best of your resources within the time available in order to be successful? Today, in this text, I invite you to have a look at the issues of time, tasks and priorities from a different angle. To simplify considerably what you may have read so far. To quit multiple activities, to refrain from more actions. To understand the phrase frequently referred to in many texts, i.e., being "here and now", and as a result to achieve what you dream of – either in the private sphere or in business.


As Stephen R. Covery claims, it is not about doing the things right but about doing the right things. Simple? If that were the case, everyone who reads those guides would be very efficient in their private life and in their business undertakings. The real issue is the fact that, even though we realise we should do the right things, indeed, we are dead sure that we are doing them, the result is finally different. First of all, doing the right thing does not mean that everything has to work out; secondly, the question is – how do we define those right things? How do they make our daily or weekly to-do list? How do we work with teams? Are we able to say NO more often than YES to what seems to be the right thing to do? And finally, do we know what we strive for, and do these YES things can bring us closer to these aspirations?

Here we approach the most important issue – how to determine that we are doing the right thing? Well, it is quite simple, but the application requires a lot of consistency. Ask yourself how your “to do” list is created – whether it is written down, exists only in your head, or is it simply the activities you pay attention to. Most people think only about what they have to do, without considering where this activity leads to in the long run, and do not consider if it is at all related to their goals and whether it will bring them closer to their ambition. Or maybe it is exactly the opposite. So, when planning, do not prioritize what you have to do, but draw your plans according to your priorities instead.


Here is another question – how to define the priorities for yourself or your business? Here, you can delve into numerous publications (including mine) on strategic planning. Some will guide you through this process very efficiently and will allow you to create a strategy that fits on one, well, maybe three sheets of paper. You do not really need more. However, the starting point of an adventure with creating the strategy is to determine the vector/direction in which you proceed. Believe me, this is much more important than having a complete, detailed plan written down because, as the events in the past two years have shown, even the best plan may crumble to dust in no time. And your vector will stay the same. What will change is the way towards it. 

A good metaphor for a business vector is to observe your behaviour in the woods when you do not know where to go but you happen to have a compass. Unlike a map, the compass will not show you the exact path you should take, yet it will set the direction for you instead. And along the way you may encounter a river, a ravine, a swamp… various obstacles. It is crucial that you stay on the course set and verify that you are heading in the right direction. The most important thing for you is to strive towards your goal consistently. There is one more characteristic thing on this journey – when you are walking there, you are in the “here and now”, you pursue only one task related to the main priority, which is moving forward, glancing at the compass once in a while. Whenever an obstacle appears, you go around, but you know that your destination lies in the determined direction. What is also important, you use your knowledge and experience, e.g., you know how to use a compass, how to determine the direction by observing moss on trees, or how to read cardinal points based on the movement of the sun across the sky. Reaching every nook and cranny of this knowledge, you reach into the resources of the past – but you are in “here and now”, you have your vector, and you know that if you stop following the compass, you will not reach your destination. 


Corvey also argues, and rightfully so, that where you are going is more important than how fast you will get there. Therefore, it is more important to check whether your intentions are related to the determined direction and are in line with your personal or business priorities rather than completing numerous tasks from a precisely (often even perfectly) constructed “to-do-list”. Thus, watch out for one more symptom, the FOMO (fear of missing out) effect. I wrote about it in the article entitled “The paradox of creating and inhibiting – or how the owner can kill the development of their company. 9 behaviours worth paying attention to” – in a nutshell: as an entrepreneur running a business, you will encounter on your way many new ideas and opportunities, so remember to carefully consider whether grasping them is beneficial for the time you have already invested in your company. Or would it be, maybe, more beneficial for your goal (business or life vector) to concentrate your attention on the tasks that will bring you closer to the goal visible for you on the horizon, and one which is related to the business you are actually running?


It is worth remembering that keeping an eye on the direction leading towards the goal increases a chance for success. Usually, these are long-distance runs, interrupted by appropriate training and adapting tasks to the situation in “here and now”, focusing on the determined vector. With numerous failures, but also with notable successes. So, in order to reach your goals, act with perseverance and boldly enlist the involvement of those who will support you in this journey with their experience. The latter will give a speed boost and at the same time the right perspective.

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