Updated: Dec 1, 2020
In Part 1, I explained the theory of Total Cost of Ownership and provided other tips to help you better manage your cash flow and projections, and laid out some simple marketing principles that all companies must adhere to. If you missed part one, you can find it here.
In Part 2, I examine the next two items on our list. A lack of planning, and poor time management.
Lack of Planning
Generally, a lack of planning is rooted in a lack of priorities. First, be sure that you are clear your vision. Can you see and describe where you want to go and why? If not, that’s the place to start, and then begin to work backwards to the status quo.
Once that vision is clear to you, the next step is to ask yourself, "what is the most important thing I need to accomplish for my business today / this month / this quarter / this year?"
The answers to these questions (and perhaps a good coach or mentor to provide you with additional topics of consideration) will help you begin to craft a business or corporate plan, and the strategies you'll use to achieve those goals.
There are many planning tools available to leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs. But before these can be effective tools, you must have that vision and those priorities set. Planners and app are not a magic wand that will just get you organized. You have to invest effort to identify your priorities and then create new frameworks and habits that will help you move closer to those goals, faster.
Finally, your plan should also include some form of measurement. Pick your metrics and the intervals at which you’ll measure them against your goals so that you know whether the plan is working, or whether you need to recalibrate in some way.
Poor Time Management
After we know where we’re going, we have to manage our time in order to meet deadlines, and stay on track with various timelines. Juggling multiple projects and deadlines can get complicated and overwhelming for leaders and managers, so along with a good plan you need good time management skills.
Like planning, time management has its foundations in prioritization. What are the most important tasks you need to accomplish now, in order to make progress toward your goals? Are you spending your time working toward those goals, or are other things getting in the way?
Bad time management doesn’t just cost you time, it also costs money (did you take the time to build overruns, debits into your budget?). Customer delivery that is time sensitive can lead to cost overruns when delivery doesn’t occur as agreed.
Project delays are costly and time is difficult, if not impossible, to recover. Expensive overtime is needed to catch up or deadlines are delayed, both of which almost always come with costs.
As you work to get better at managing your time, start with simple items and build to more complex ones. Use the small victories to build confidence in your plan and strategies. Low-risk trial and error is a great way to find what works for YOU and adjust without much effort or consequence. Save the really big, giant projects for when your foundations and systems are tested and in place.
If these aren’t skills that you consider strengths, again, it may be time to review your organizational chart and hire someone with these skills in order to help you continue moving toward that vision or goal.
About the Author:
Matt Beckmann is the Founder & Managing Director of Ascent Consultants. In addition to experience as a former Chief of Staff to the Missouri Auditor and as a Corporate Vice President and General Counsel, he has advanced training and certifications in law, business, coaching, athletics, and other disciplines. His blog content, inspired by his deep passion for unlocking his reader's best potential, consistently equips business owners and individuals with the knowledge and resources to overcome obstacles that may be hindering growth.
Ascent Consultants provides business and project management consulting services, and executive and leadership development coaching. By converting client growth goals into an actionable "game plan," we lead companies and individuals to extraordinary outcomes.