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How to Stay Focused Each Week on What Matters

2024-04-23

Staying aligned with strategic priorities and avoiding being absorbed by the daily operational reality is one of the most significant challenges for managers and leadership teams.

Without this necessary perspective, the implementation/execution of strategic choices is at risk, making it difficult to advance the organization towards its goals.

Having a strategy is good; knowing how to execute it is better.

Setting objectives, articulating them into a plan, developing teams, and making progress each week falls under strategic management.

However, I want to go back to basics.

Maintaining visibility on what is important starts with personal priority management.

By incorporating a personal weekly review of their activities, every member of the management team (and any executive, really) can ensure they maintain the necessary perspective to drive priorities forward.

Let’s see how to conduct this personal review.

I was a young graduate, freshly hired at Bombardier, when the father of a friend, then a senior executive at a large company, shared an approach with me that would change the way I managed my projects and professional activities.

In broad terms, he told me: “Every week, make sure you have at least 2 hours to review priorities, activities, and ensure you stay aligned. Plan the upcoming week and make sure what you do counts. Also, make sure to set aside time to read and reflect.”

Over the years, this review has proven to be increasingly important.

During my time at Deloitte, we used this same approach to communicate priorities, successes, and issues to clients to ensure the weekly progress of projects. We made sure that we kept our eyes on driving key activities in addition to aligning clients and the team.

Today, I too often encounter managers and leadership team members who admit to lacking time and perspective. They frequently state how operational issues make it difficult to manage strategic priorities and projects.

I strongly encourage you to integrate this review approach into your weekly routine. The goal is always to ensure that the activities carried out are aligned with strategic priorities.

To do every week

It’s straightforward but incredibly effective!

  • Duration: Block a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Weekly Summary: Review the 3-5 key activities completed.
  • Issues: Identify problems that require intervention or special attention to prevent the project from derailing.
  • Next Week: Outline the main upcoming activities and necessary collaborations.
  • Personal Reflection: What went well, what went less well, and what should be done differently.

The ideal moment to carry out this review can vary.

Some prefer Friday to close the week’s activities on a positive note. Others prefer Sunday evening to get a head start on Monday morning’s activities.

However, remember to share several pieces of information from this exercise with colleagues and collaborators. 

The more information shared on time, the more likely we are to stay aligned collectively. This necessity should also guide the timing of the review.

If you haven’t yet integrated this practice into your weekly activities, try it for at least 8 weeks. You will see the benefits, the progress, and the clarity of your ideas!

Quote

Citation "The Magic of Thinking Big"

Thanks for being with us and have a great week,

Eric L’Heureux

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