In 2020, all CEOs had to learn some new skills and take on some unorthodox responsibilities as we adjusted to the pandemic. Some days you probably felt like you were in charge of your IT department, managing your digital pivot and learning how to Zoom effectively. Other days you might have felt like a one-man HR as you helped your virtual workforce stay on task and connected to your culture. And throughout everything, you probably felt like you were taking a crash course in epidemiology.
All that effort was necessary to lead your company through an unprecedented crisis. But it’s likely that, along the way, you took on tasks that weren’t really top-level. Now that your company’s infrastructure and manpower are ready for 2021, it’s essential that CEOs reassess their to-do lists and start moving lower-priority items onto their Stop Doing Lists.
The CEO Coaching International Stop Doing List exercise can help CEOs and entrepreneurs clear the clutter off their desks and regain focus on making BIG happen. Here’s how it works:
1. Understand what your top priorities should be.
High-performing CEOs who run the best of the best companies focus their time on only five things: Vision, Cash on hand, hiring the best People, managing Key Relationships, and Learning.
Anything on your current agenda that doesn’t fall into one of those five categories is probably a waste of your time. This is the criteria by which we’re going fill out your Stop Doing List, so keep it in mind throughout the rest of the exercise.
After such an action-packed 2020, setting restrictions on what you will and won’t do might sound indulgent, or even lazy. Trust me, it’s not. If you came out of your annual planning session with clearly defined targets and responsibilities for the year ahead, your team should feel empowered to regain control of things you shouldn’t have to be doing.
Obviously, as a society, we’re still living through a very uncertain and precarious moment. But as a business, this isn’t April 2020 anymore. You shouldn’t have to be spending extra FaceTime walking top customers back from the ledge. You shouldn’t have to oversee every tech upgrade or health care issue. And if you do feel that pressure is still all on you, then you either don’t have a good action plan or you don’t have the best people working under you.
2. Delegate or discontinue?
Why are you doing what you’re doing? Is it because it’s an important task that’s leading your company towards your BIG vision? Does it drive a key performance indicator that your company tracks and measures religiously? Is it an essential job better-suited to a C-Suite employee you haven’t hired yet?
These are the kinds of tasks that go in your Delegate box. You need to keep doing these things for your business to grow, but they aren’t CEO-level activities. Figure out to whom you should delegate these tasks and set a hard deadline to force yourself to make the transition.
There’s another category of tasks to think about: things the company is doing because you’ve always done them. Maybe this is an email marketing campaign that isn’t translating into leads. Maybe you have a satellite office that has yet to turn a profit. Maybe it’s some reports your team diligently compiles each week but you don’t pay attention to them.
Put these activities into the Discontinue box. You don’t want to delegate these tasks, because the company needs to Stop Doing them.
3. Refocus on your top 5 priorities.
Now for the really important part: filling up your new schedule with tasks that focus on Vision, Cash, People, Key Relationships, and Learning.
For example, if you find there’s no one to whom you can delegate an important task, then you need to get serious about hiring some top talent. If you don’t have a CFO yet, get one. If your current head of sales keeps making excuses about sagging numbers, get a new head of sales. If your salespeople aren’t being team players and learning how to improve their virtual sales skills, upgrade your training program or hire better salespeople.
How often are you checking your cash account balances? Set a reminder to do it weekly – at least.
Are you putting aside some time every week to read up on what’s happening in your business space? Are you having Zoom happy hours with other CEOs to share stories, network, and get background info? Have you checked what kind of virtual events your favorite conferences are scheduling?
Settle on three important CEO-level tasks that need your attention and write those in the Spend More Time box. Ninety percent of your time should be spent on these and other top priorities.
If you felt like you were doing everything in 2020, it’s time to break that habit before it breaks you and your business. Click here to download the Stop Doing List tool and get back to the top tasks you alone need to execute to make BIG happen in 2021.
About Mark Moses
Mark Moses is the Founding Partner of CEO Coaching International and the Amazon Bestselling author of Make Big Happen. Mark has won Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award and the Blue Chip Enterprise award for overcoming adversity. His last company ranked #1 Fastest-Growing Company in Los Angeles as well as #10 on the Inc. 500 of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. He has completed 12 full distance Ironman Triathlons including the Hawaii Ironman World Championship 5 times.
About CEO Coaching International
CEO Coaching International works with the world’s top entrepreneurs, CEOs, and companies to dramatically grow their business, develop their people, and elevate their overall performance. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 600 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 40 countries. Every coach at CEO Coaching International is a former CEO or President that has made big happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $1 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight and nine figure exits. CEOs and entrepreneurs working with CEO Coaching International for three years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 59% during their time as a client, more than five times the national average. For more information, please visit: https://www.ceocoachinginternational.com