Every business is under a certain amount of stress these days. As a result, most CEO’s are conflicted on where to place their energies. Should you focus on revenue generation? Should you focus on cost reduction? Should you introduce a new product or cut your current product line? How do you build business value in the enterprise when you are constantly putting out fires.
Before you answer those questions, make a quick check on your current list of priorities. Start by looking at your calendar to get an accurate look at what you currently view as pressing. Is your calendar dotted with mini-meetings scheduled twenty minutes or two hours before they are to start. Worse yet, are you so busy, the meetings never even get on the calendar?
Now, compare the time you’ve been spending on fires with the list of transformational initiatives you created three months ago in your planning session. Initiatives you thought long and hard about and were convinced could add value to your company. If there is a mismatch, you have to ask yourself if you’ve gone off track.
At the recent G-20 conference in London, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that “the most important thing, again, is to get the leaders of the world — these countries represent 85 percent of global output — to stand together and say, we’re going to act together to do what’s necessary to bring this recovery back on track.” That was Geithner’s top priority and we are all depending on him to stay focused on that top task.
The same can be said for you stakeholders. They are depending upon your ability as a leader to stay focused on your top priorities. You must find ways to put out the fires while you are still working on your strategic initiatives.