Leadership Lessons - How to get things done when you're a strategic thinker

Like most of you, one of my lead qualities is a dedication to lifelong learning and a determination to constantly learn lessons and enhance my leadership skills. However, many of us fall into the trap of being so busy we sometimes miss the lesson altogether!

I recently learnt a lesson that I want to share because once I spotted it, I saw it play out many times around me. As a business leader, an essential part of a leader’s responsibilities is making many decisions daily. However, recently I’ve noticed a significant difference between how I make macro decisions versus micro-decisions.

Let me explain further…

The difference between macro and micro-decisions

A macro decision is something big – like starting a business, going for a promotion, or deciding to get super fit. I’ve heard many times that you have to think big. And I know that’s important. But, most of us believe that thinking big – making the macro decision – is the most important thing.

This may be controversial for some, but I believe it’s actually fairly easy to make macro decisions. Making such big decisions gives us a short-term high. We get carried away with the prospect of some exciting transformation and enjoy an initial burst of energy, going in all guns blazing. But that initial high is not sustained.

A more important area to focus your energy on is making micro, smaller, everyday decisions, and by doing that, you will make real progress. Also an essential part of leadership duties is the commitment to consistently making micro-decisions which means that you keep moving forward. Making micro-decisions that turn into actionable tasks and executing these with pace means you get stuff done! You’ll realise the benefits and start to see a transformation happening.

I learned this lesson recently when I was training with a bunch of friends for a Royal Marines race event. How many times have you seen someone – maybe even yourself – make a macro decision like ‘I’m going to get fit this year,’ and then not much happens?

It’s not the macro decision itself that will help you get fit and complete the race. It’s the micro-decisions (getting up early to go running, come rain or shine, squeezing in a 40-minute gym session on your way home even when you’re exhausted etc.). This is where self-discipline comes into play! For more help on that topic, check out our blog on how to enhance business performance with one simple habit.

When you relate this idea to your business, it’s not the macro decision to launch a new product or expand into a new market that will actually get things done most effectively. It’s the daily micro-decisions of turning up on time, following up on your meeting actions, and persisting with those team engagement initiatives that will have the biggest impact on performance and help you really move the business forward. These are the decisions that are going to help you smash your goals.

We make thousands of micro-decisions per day, and it can get exhausting, especially as the CEO leading a business. However, having a clearly defined business plan which includes a clear vision, mission-critical objectives and actionable goals, will dramatically help you maintain a tight focus on what’s most important to move the business forward and accomplish your desired results. Having this centralised focus will therefore improve the ease and effectiveness of making micro-decisions. It could well lead to increased productivity, profitability or customer retention.

Furthermore, if this tightly focused business plan is cascaded throughout your organisation and firmly embedded into everyday operations, it empowers other teams to make more effective micro-decisions too. Certainly, your senior leadership team, possibly even your management team, will be better equipped to make more effective micro-decisions as they are kept fully informed of the overall business vision and direction.

The impact of this can exceed that of any macro decision!

Macro is good; micro is great!

Yes, of course, it feels great to make a big strategic macro decision. But make no mistake, it’s the daily micro-decisions you make that you need to watch out for. The ongoing discipline of making these decisions and putting them into action will help you achieve your potential.

So, make sure you consider not only your big macro decisions but also the seemingly inconsequential micro-decisions that lead to effectiveness, growth and success.

Reclaro is based on the award-winning business planning model known as 1-3-5®, consisting of 1 crystal clear vision, 3 mission-critical objectives and 5 goals per objective, usually set over 12 months. We recommend that the business leader, CEO or MD creates the plan and then cascades it throughout the senior leadership and management teams to get everyone in sync and working hard in the right direction. This model has helped thousands of leaders transform their business and accelerate growth by centralising strategic focus, aligning teams and improving performance by communicating exactly where teams should focus their efforts most to achieve the desired business results.

For more information on the 1-3-5® performance system, please visit our how it works page or get in touch. Email hello@reclaro.com, and we will be happy to discuss this with you.

Posted by Pete Wilkinson

Last updated: 18 June 2021

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