One of my rules of engagement, when I start working with a client, is that they are not allowed to say ‘I was too busy’ …… to do the actions they agreed at our previous session.
Yet this stock phrase is one that is frequently banded around organisations and becomes the reason bottlenecks appear and work isn’t delegated (after all ‘I’m too busy to show someone how to do it so it’s quicker to do it myself’). Sometimes I see staff who are so busy….telling everyone they are too busy!
I meet with some potential clients who are so busy delivering their business that they don’t come up for air. They know they need some help, they know they need to break the cycle yet in extreme cases they don’t engage with me because (you guessed it), they are too busy!
Breaking the cycle
Clearly, this is an issue and I am sure many will relate to this so there has to be a way to change. The starting point is to separate the urgent from the important. And don’t kid yourself; if you feel everything is urgent then in the end nothing is urgent. It’s about priorities.
See the bigger picture
One way to help identify priorities is to ensure you can see the bigger picture so that means having a vision for the business that translates into a 1-year plan and further down to 90-day priorities. Once these priorities are identified then they can be delegated appropriately. Businesses attention spans are typically no more than 90-days so every 90-days the next set of quarterly priorities need to be identified, actioned and communicated.
Delegate and elevate
The third step to breaking this cycle is to ensure everyone is working at the top of their game not the bottom, so this means delegating as much as possible to elevate everyone’s role to focus on the things only they can do. If you don’t have anyone to delegate to then consider outsourcing or bringing in freelancers – or dropping the action altogether, if you can.
If everyone in the organisation is focused on the business priorities, delegating and elevating and communicating effectively then we should not hear those dreaded words “I’m too busy”.