What would you guess is the biggest enemy of a leader? Wasted time? Indecisiveness? Short-sightedness? Go ahead, try it. List the enemies that fight your ability to lead and live the way you want to in your ideal vision.
Now, what will you do to take away its power?
For Charlene Begley, the President and CEO Enterprise Solutions of General Electric,
the biggest enemy is wasted time. Listen to how she tackles time, wrestles it to the ground, pins it down tight and takes control.
Especially in these tough times, I’m huge on being very focused and setting clear priorities. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. So I pick the three to five things that really matter, and I’m really disciplined about spending time on those things. I can’t do everything, so I have to make tough choices.
I literally sit down with the calendar and say, what do I really care about now? I care about our new products being launched on time. So I make that the priority. I create the time for the business teams to me on a regular basis with status. That’s where I spend my time.
I pick the things that matter to me and put them on my calendar. I never say I wasted the day, because I carefully plan my calendar. Time is my biggest enemy. I have three kids. Life is crazy. There’s never enough time in the day. So I manage my calendar. I mange the time I spend, and I set operating mechanisms to be sure I’m spending time with the things that really matter: employees, customers, my team, the key initiatives.
I am obsessed with my calendar. I take the time. I could tell you right now what I am going to do [six months from now]. It’s actually a little frightening, but it works! I have the whole year planned out. I still have to be flexible, but that includes putting on the calendar the things that matter to my kids. The school plays, the sporting events. I plan really carefully so I’m home when the things that really matter are happening, I’m there. And if I’m not, I plan the special occasions to make up for lost time.
Listening to Charlene, you can really get a sense of her diligence. Whether your biggest enemy is time, procrastination, busy-ness, a tight budget, a dysfunctional team, or any of the other terrors with which leaders grapple, how can you be equally aggressive in making sure you overcome it?
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