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Executive jump-start

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Business tips
Friday, June 28, 2013


06.28.13 Blog CoachingDear CEO:

Thanks for enrolling in executive coaching. This will jump-start you to a higher level of effectiveness. Here’s what we’ll be working on in the next four weeks.

First, you have to know and control your time. Your assignment is to install and use the app Toggl. Keep it running at all times. No matter what you are doing, have Toggl recording what it is. It will be embarrassing and eye-opening.

Make sure Toggl is connected to your email profile, so you can run it on your phone, laptop, tablet, and multiple other devices. They all synchronize to each other and to the central repository of time records.

Do you have another tool you’d rather use? Do NOT allow yourself to dither around which tool is better. Use Toggl until that other tool is installed and running.

Second, have a weekly check-in on your big picture. The following list, inspired by John Bernard’s “Business at the Speed of Now” is a good touchstone for that overview:

  1. Develop Products
  2. Build / Produce / Ship Products
  3. Market Products
  4. Sell Products
  5. Service Products
  6. Ensure Compliance
  7. Manage Strategic Alliances
  8. Use (Track) Information
  9. Manage Money, Budgets, Capital
  10. Manage Strategy and Performance
  11. Manage Risk
  12. Build Team – Recruit, Train, Grow

Items 1-7 are Operational and 8-12 are Supportive.

Have an accountability partner with whom you review this list. I am happy to do that, however it could be anybody. Longer-term, it should be someone from your board, or the chairman.

For each of these 12 processes areas, have a medium term milestone, and a “next step.” In any given week, you should either be working on one of those next steps, or have one delegated, or you should be deliberately aware that you are not going to work on it this week.

Here’s an example of how you might structure your Big Picture list:

Operational Process Areas Next Milestone Next Step Step Owner By When
1. Develop Service Offerings Turnkey UCA Template “Beta” GG Cash Flow Tool Delivered Bill 7/8
2. Initiate Delivery of Service Offerings Written IDSO plan IDSO outline Tom 7/8
3. Market Service Offerings Coherent Marketing Plan Video #2 Posted Tom 7/11
4. Sell Service Offerings Sell Beta Product 5 Info Interviews Tom (w/ Lori) 7/15

Third, you should also be tracking which next steps are delegated to someone else, who it is (“Step Owner”), when it is due, and when you are checking in. You absolutely must stay on top of your delegated tasks. Just as in relationships, the key to delegation is following up early and often.

Fourth, manage your head — use mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude. Manage your energy. Eat well. Exercise.

Fifth, maintain a weekly tempo of regular brief meetings with your key people. Once you get to a high enough level in any organization, all your issues are staffing issues.

Sixth, be deliberate about how you start and end each day.

Start the day with clear priorities.

End the day with a Victory Journal and preparation for tomorrow.

Let’s talk tomorrow.


Tom Cox is a Beaverton consultant, author and speaker. He coaches CEOs on how to boost performance by building workplace trust.


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