The quip that ‘a week is a long time in politics’ holds a lot of truth for modern businesses. Market developments and political events can result in business leaders allocating most of their time to handling the issues of the day. You can easily find that important priorities are taking precedent over the most important.
It can feel like lurching from one crisis to the next, with innovation and strategy left parked in a holding pattern.
It is true that you need to handle the day job – the core business – even while external or internal events wax and wane. Peaks of workload can see occasional stumbles, with the order for a valued customer not delivered as promised, or a product or service below the usual standards. It happens.
I notice that the best leaders tend to think in terms of keeping their batting average up and getting results. They don’t try to be perfectionists.
A mindset of accomplishment rather than perfection means that leaders can invest up to 80% of their time on core business, leaving at least 20% for the most important work – such as positioning their organisation or industry to succeed in the future.
Potential opportunities are constantly emerging, but they are rarely in a form that are easily grasped. It requires investing time and deliberate effort to identify and pursue the most important priorities. For example, last week the Australian parliament ratified three Free Trade Agreements including the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA).
These agreements offer business opportunities through improved market access. However, translating access into commercial opportunities (i.e. trade occurring) won’t just happen. It means developing a strategy that prioritises the market, understanding demand, investing effort to develop relationships for mutually beneficial trade and so on.
Well over a decade ago, savvy businesses and industries had a ‘China strategy’ and since reaped the benefits. Does your firm and industry have an ‘Indonesia strategy’ today to capture the substantial future opportunities offered in the growing US1 trillion-dollar economy (2018) with over 264m consumers?
You might free up some time to take a look at that.