In the last installment, we explored getting an hour or two a week to “go to your Starbucks chair” and think. We even provided an outline of things to think about.
But, an hour a week is not enough. Few can give more on a regular basis; yet there are things to be mused over that are too big to ignore. That’s why I also recommend extended time of thinking (ETOT) on a quarterly and annual basis.
Your ETOT times are where you get away for a half-day quarterly and a full day annually to really focus on the big questions, to dream big, to tackle the “monsters.”
- What are the top 3-5 things that you personally need to accomplish in the coming quarter? Priorities. Rocks. 5 and 1 of 5. Whatever you want to call them, you need time to think about what they are.
- What new business opportunities are you seeing? Is it time to pursue them? If so, how will you go about it? Who should get the assignment?
- What is your succession plan? Exit strategy?
- Who is ready for promotion? What do they need to be prepared?
- What is the BHAG of our company?
- Where do we expect to be in 3-10 years? Locations? Financially? Organizationally? Products offered? Markets served?
- Should we stay in our current market? Are there additional markets we should enter?
- How might technology affect what we do over the next few years? Which are accelerators? Which are dangers or existential threats?
- Where is our growth coming from? Organic? Acquisition? Expansions? New product/service lines?
- What governmental actions will assist our business? Threaten our business? How shall we respond?
- Is our culture healthy and vibrant? How do we keep it so? How do we make it so?
- Is there a disruptive move to be made? Defended against?
Of course you won’t ask and answer all of these questions in every extended session but these are the kind of things about which you should be thinking. I believe these times (ETOT) will be encouraging, accelerate creativity, settle your mind, and build you as a leader. Try it and see what works for you.