Many years ago, I was privileged to hear Dr. Larry King speak on the roles and challenges faced by CEOs. Dr. King is an internationally known speaker and CEO advisor, who has presented more than 1,000 seminars to CEOs on six continents. The man knows what he’s talking about.
What I came away with was an exercise he called “Scheduling one-on-ones with yourself.” Most of us understand the value of having regular one-on-one meetings with direct reports and other members of the executive team. It’s an opportunity for two people to meet without distractions and tackle issues vital to the business. One-on-ones are also a popular benefit of membership in Catapult Groups. Each month, a Catapult Groups Leader meets with members individually in a probing, no-holds-barred two-hour session. This is the time when members focus on strategic issues, where they confront problems that affect the future of the business as well as opportunities to reach the next level of success.
Working on the business, not in it
What was unique about Dr. King’s presentation was the idea of scheduling one-to-ones with yourself. Think about it – when was the last time you stepped away from your desk and thought about your business in a “big-picture” way? Normally, you find yourself knee-deep in operational issues and challenges. But that’s working in the business, rather than on the business. And this is where the value of a one-to-one with yourself kicks in.
Give it a try. Once a month, set aside a substantial amount of time – say, two to four hours – and find a quiet place to sit and reflect on an agenda you’ve drawn up beforehand. This agenda should have 4-6 items at most, and they should all be strategic, not tactical in nature. Where’s the business now? Where do I want it to be in one year? Three years?
Away from the noise
Think about your company’s position in the marketplace. How well are your products and services doing? What efforts are you making to explore new markets and new product development? What are some new ways to do what I do? Who should be my next big hire? Writing your thoughts down during this one-on-one with yourself pays off. Several of my Catapult Groups members have tried this technique and it’s worked wonders for them.
Remember – this is not a time to check e-mails or text a VP with his or her next assignment. Thinking hard about the future of the business is one of the most important things to be doing with your time. As Dr. King put it, “Get out of the business, stay away from the noise and above the fray.” The results of this exercise might surprise you.