Staying focused and organized in leadership positions

Over the past several years I’ve developed, borrowed, learnt from others, and adapted techniques I use to keep myself focused and organized in leadership positions. There is nothing earth shattering about these techniques, but I’ve found that when I give this advice to friends and colleagues they find it very valuable. So I figured I’d share it with you, in no particular order…

Keep your calendar free in a given week at 40% to 50% availability.
Many years ago, I asked a very successful VC how he gauged if a CEO/leader was going to be great. His answer was so simple and so telling; he looked at the person’s calendar and if it was packed full of back-to-back meetings he knew the leader was likely a “reactional” leader, as they’d have little to no time to reflect, think about where the business is going, or fire fight critical issues without canceling existing meetings. The reality is that it is easy to book up your calendar 100%, heck some even book 125%+ (and disappoint folks often); if you do this, you really are reacting to what you are hearing from one meeting to another or emails/text’s you might be getting between meetings. It’s much harder to keep your calendar 50% open in a given week, however, I’ve found that the net positive effects/traits are plentiful and was what the VC was looking for in this simple calendar observation. Continue reading