Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The “Sooner or Later” Tightrope

One of the highlights of the Management Circus is the high wire act – the one where the “needs of now” on one side are deftly satisfied while one the other side," longer term objectives" are being accomplished.

If you’re walking this tightrope on a daily basis (as so many of us are), Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi and Saatchi says you need two things: a plan and a list.

The plan is a “100 Day Plan” - an aid in helping you accomplish what is important over time. A 100 day plan says Roberts, “lifts your eyes, mind and heart up off the pavement and out to the horizon. It cuts a path through detail swamps and meeting deserts to create action…(to) help you keep on track with what’s most important” vs. what’s just urgent.

Hyperbole notwithstanding, this is good advice.

Get started by listing 10 things you need to accomplish in 100 days or less. For each item on the list, Kevin recommends starting with an action verb and using no more than 3 words:

“Win vs. France, Rehab left knee, Win US Presidency… Make sure each action is measurable and that each one is a stretch. You’ll know when something is a real stretch and when you’re just creating a list with things you can tick off. Review your list every Friday morning. When the 100 Days comes round, the goal is to have each item checked off.”

The second suggestion is maintaining a simple to-do list.

Don’t scoff.

The simple “to do” list was a tool of Thomas Edison (among others) who said it helped him avoid being “consumed by the urgent at the expense of the important.”