The most common issue that business owners and managers face in a high growth business is the lack of time to make decisions or consider situations. As I have repeated on many occasions business owners as managers find ways to make time not by working harder but by working smarter. We all know that high growth puts relentless pressure on a business and it will seek out any weakness in management or the business and mercilessly exploit that weakness until it is fixed or it ruins the business.
The problem for management in this environment is that decisions and problems arrive all to frequently and they can't be left to fester. How does management cope with this onslaught. The answer is to try to grade the importance of the decisions they have to make. The problem with many firms is that the management team will tend to deal with the issues with giving much thought to priority. This often that means the easy decisions are made quickly but those more difficult and complex decisions are left, this results in a backlog, of often, very important issues.
Having faced this problem myself I have of found this simple chart has enabled me to get to the most important decision first, and not to get distracted by the constant stream of the quick and easy.
I give this diagram to all my clients although it is most relevant to those managing high growth businesses. The objective is to get you to think about the type of tasks you undertake and if they are really necessary.
Taking the two left hand boxes it is obvious that undertaking urgent and important tasks are necessary, and it should also be clear that items that are neither important or urgent should be ignored. However we commonly find that a surprising number of people are doing work in this category; because it tends to be full of quick, easy and repetitive tasks so that it can appear that you've got through a lot of work, unfortunately they are of little value. You should avoid these type of tasks at all costs as they are time wasters.
Of the two right hand boxes the Urgent but not Important quadrant is where we spend too much of our time. We tend to assume that if something is urgent it is naturally important. This is not the case. You should try asking yourself “what are the consequences if I don’t do this”? In a surprising number of cases the answer is not much. If that’s your conclusion then focus on tasks that are really important.
The Important but not Urgent category, is by contrast, where we spend less time than we should. A typical example is creating a strategic plan or a marketing or business plan. Yes it’s important but somehow we never get around to it soon enough because it is rarely urgent, and so we fill our time up will urgent tasks instead.
I have had many clients who have found that using this analysis before launching into their activities has transformed the effectiveness of their effort enabling them to make a much stronger contribution to the business by focusing on what is really important rather an what is urgent.
Exigent Consulting provides specialist services for High Growth Business , Business Turnaround, and Mentoring to the Small and Medium Business. We help business owners improve the profit performance of their business.