Think back to when you were a new professional.
What were your days and weeks like?
They were likely quite similar to each other: arrive at desk, check email, and do work.
Variety came in the form of the occasional meeting and maybe a colleague’s birthday celebration (which if you’re a woman you were likely expected to plan, regardless of your role or credentials…).
As a new professional, work for you was likely supporting the operations of your department.
If your manager was halfway decent, they clearly defined your role, so you knew just what to do. If not, the hierarchy in the department likely had enough downward force to make it clear what you were expected to do.
Anything outside of that was because you’re bright and you took initiative.
The fact that you had good ideas and could execute them is what led you to where you are now.
Do you: arrive at desk, check email, and do work? More meetings, I’m sure.
But what does “do work” mean for you now?
Now that you’re in a leadership role, how does your use of time align with the fact that your role is now supposed to be much more strategic than operational?
Your position description used to be 80% operations, 10% supporting strategic goals, and 10% “other duties as assigned” (i.e. birthday cake purchasing) — and how you spent your days and weeks reflected that.
Now, your position description is likely closer to 80% strategy, 10% operations, and 10% extras.
Do your days and weeks reflect that?
More often than not, the position description is more of an aspirational goal than a map to your daily experience.
More likely than not, your morning email inbox check dictates what you’re doing that day in the fragments of time that you can grab between meetings.
More, more, more.
Without you realizing it, the small, enjoyable strategic projects that you were supposed to complete a while ago have morphed into ever-growing phantom problems that aren’t quite there when you turn around…but like a full garbage bag that you haven’t taken out, you can smell them. Even if even others say they don’t mind the stench, they notice.
(This company isn’t called Cresta Solutions for no reason, now!)
Now that I’ve forced you to re-live the stress that you’re dealing with, the least that I can do is offer you some suggestions for breaking out of that cycle, for getting the percentages on your position description to align a bit closer with your week’s time breakdown.
Time blocking is the most efficient and sustainable strategy in the long term. What I personally do is block off time throughout the week when I’m most productive (morning person, here!), and I determine ahead of time what I’m going to do during those time blocks. I hold them relatively sacred.
Not only does the time blocking help prevent other meetings or tasks from stealing away time for strategic or project work, but it also allows me to get into a state of flow. A two hour block of focused, deep thinking is equivalent to several days’ worth of the minutes snatched between meetings, hastily stitched together. Plus, it’s more fun and has more sustainable results.
However, it does take doing time blocking for a while to get caught up on your backlog of work.
If you need a quick, effective intervention, a retreat is your answer. If a two hour block on your own can be the equivalent of a week’s worth of odd moments of work, just imagine what’s possible to accomplish when your team comes together for a day or two to really get things done!
Retreats are often thought of as a fun, team-building activity, which is not often associated with focused work. Well, I’m here to challenge that! As a professional facilitator, I am skilled at helping teams meet their goals on time, while still enjoying themselves. Additionally, I believe that it is through working on a project together that teams are best built!
Let’s have a quick Discovery Call to discuss how you can knock out some of those lingering problems and projects in a matter of days. Yes, days.
What if you could participate in a program during which you’d:
Good news: It’s not too good to be true.
Refresh: Straight-Forward Project Leadership for Innovative Results is a program that can help you get those looming problems solved.
Like time blocking and a retreat, this program provides dedicated time to working on your project. It’s the perfect excuse to decline meetings that would take away from your strategic goals, while getting a massive amount complete.
Like a retreat with a professional facilitator, you have someone to help you through your process.
What makes this unique is that it integrates regular, strategic work into your schedule with increased accountability; it provides a framework that you and your team can learn and in which you can thrive; and it helps build the kind of culture that moves the needle.
Wondering if this would work for your team? Please find a time for us to chat here!
Megan E. Mozina
Founder & Principal
"5 Steps to Leading Strategic Initiatives in Times of Change: A Resource Guide for Purpose-Driven Leaders" is here to help you think through how to structure your projects.
There's an overview of the steps, some bonus pro tips, and then some additional explanation in some videos you'll receive after you get the guide.
You have a lot of pressure on you to lead meaningful initiatives in these times of great change.
But where do you start? How do you make sure that you're taking a creative approach? That your plan works?
This free resource guide from Cresta Solutions is here to help! It provides a 5-step framework for you to follow and some bonus "Pro Tips" to help you lead these changes with creativity and long-term impact.