Efficiency is in constant evolution within a business, and it starts at the top. Below Paul Bennett CEng, IoD CDir, Executive Chairman, lists CEO Today with 5 ways directors and company leaders can improve their overall efficiency.
Company directors routinely feel distracted and diverted from their highest priority tasks, which prevents them from achieving the results that they want. Why? Can our daily efficiency be so easily compromised?
Yes and, sadly, yes. So, if that sounds (in any way) familiar, then I would like to suggest a few tips:
- Prioritise Value Creation Today
Our top priorities as directors are setting the organisation’s strategic direction and creating value so time needs to be set aside every day for strategic reflection and focus. This may include considering income streams (current and future), customers (current and future), products and services (current and future), staff and teams (current and future) etc
Ask yourself how you can create more value in each of these (and other) areas and make these your priorities.
By doing this, you will also inspire those around you.
- Bin the Trash Today
Directors frequently complain of unimportant meetings, irrelevant committees, moaners, bad clients, poor staff, email overload and a plethora of other procrastinations that can detract from daily business. If only we had more time, we could achieve so much more in our day!
So let’s create some extra time by ‘binning trash’.
Today, anticipate the potential time wasters that prevent you from doing your job. Spend time ‘binning the trash’ whether it be unsubscribing from useless emails, holding standing meetings, resigning from irrelevant committees, and think about whether you have a supportive team around you who actively help you do your job. If not, take steps to change that.
Be decisive, be tough, and use your position in the right way for the good of all. Chances are the teams around us will be relieved to see it, and will follow suit…
- Go for a Helicopter Ride Today
Directors should take a helicopter view of their organisations and the world around them. This approach allows us to gather industry intelligence, as well as get a wider perspective of the market we operate in. Twenty-four hours is a long time in business (as well as politics) so never lose that helicopter view.
Go for a helicopter ride today. Read the business news (in your region and others), meet customers, review upcoming government policies, go to that seminar/conference, and consider the impact of new technology and industry players. Give yourself the opportunity to explore trends to enable you to make better judgements and improve boardroom decision-making.
On the plus side, helicopter rides – even metaphorical ones – are fun to do.
- Challenge and Understand Today
As directors, we are presented with, and expected to deal with, massive amounts of data i.e. information, analyses, reports, statistics etc, which can quickly feel like “data overload”. We need well-honed observation skills to know when to ask questions and judge when to intervene.
So, today when data is presented to you, take the time to think, question and intervene if instinctively you feel you should. Set expectations of others, communicate your needs clearly, recognise good performance, challenge poor performance and hold managers accountable.
As ambassadors of the organisation, and as members of the board of directors, it behoves us to do this with kindness and humility, while at the same time, setting standards. Do this, and the chances are that the next time that data is presented to you the author will have better anticipated your needs!
- Seek to Improve Yourself Today (and Every Day)
When was the last time you took part in professional development? Just because we’re now sitting at the boardroom table doesn’t mean the world outside has stood still.
Life is an opportunity to learn something new every day.
If you have not been in a training room for a while, you’ll have missed opportunities to discover new concepts and techniques, network and share experiences with your peers, and be personally challenged in a safe environment.
Change starts right now, and the first step paves the way.
I encourage you to do this today.
Paul Bennett is the Executive Chairman of BSSEC, a commercial energy efficiency consultancy www.bssec.co.uk . Paul is a Chartered Engineer and was awarded “New Chartered Director of the Year 2016” by the Institute of Directors (www.iod.com/training/iod-approach/success-stories/paul-bennett).