We have spent a lot of time in recent posts talking about establishing clarity of direction, plans and actions.  There is one other point on this subject that is important to discuss…maintaining that clarity and focus, and managing daily priorities accordingly.

Minimize the distractions that the continuously changing environment can cause in your operations and in the achievement of your goals and priorities.

Every day your employees at all levels are bombarded with information that can cause them to lose sight of priorities and direction…every day!  Customers have special needs they are trying to meet; competitors are moving quickly to find and promote new and better ways of serving customers; regulators are adding and changing the rules by which we must operate; shareholders are pushing for improvement in financial performance.  All of these influences make it difficult for employees to remain focused on the company direction and priorities.

A key task that you have as a leader is to manage the impact that these external influences have on your operations…minimize the noise…minimize the distractions…and maintain the focus on the strategies, plans, and priorities in executing those plans.  This goes beyond the communications aspects in the last post.

Think about this…What are your core operational processes, and what structures and processes do you have in place to help you manage the effect of external influences on them.  For example:

  • How do you receive and process customer requested changes to products or services offered?
  • How are regulatory issues, concerns and changes received, interpreted and implemented?
  • How do you identify technological advances taking place in the industry and evaluate their potential application within your operations?

You must manage the points of external influence on your organization.  You must protect your operations from being distracted by too much information.  You must build structures and processes which manage the information coming in, and help employees make sense of it and keep it within the context of the plans and priorities of the business.

Note of caution…Don’t let your efforts to “reduce the noise” get in the way of listening to ideas that may help you improve your operations.  Your constituents are a great source of competitive, market and industry information. They see your business from a different perspective than you every day. Take advantage of that, but manage it.