Sure You’re Busy . . . But Are You Productive?

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On January 11, 2016

Sure-you're-busy-but-are-you-productiveI consult and coach with a lot of different businesses and it always seems to me that these businesses are plenty busy. As a matter of fact, their busyness often makes it hard for them to take the time to do the strategic planning and evaluation that’s essential to success.

Unfortunately, however, a lot of businesses seem to confuse busyness with productivity. And while we all know that they’re not the same thing, we sometimes fall into that trap. We’re busy, but not productive.

That’s why strategic planning is so important. My emphasis on the word strategic is intentional. If you really want to grow your business you can’t just have a vague plan. Your plan needs to be grounded in your core values, your core purpose, and your brand promise. And then you need to have strategic priorities. You won’t be able to do everything you want to do, so you need to identify which specific things you’re going to do. And you need to choose those things for specific (strategic) reasons.

Even after doing that, you’re not done, yet. You’re strategic priorities will be different for the next quarter and for the coming year and for three years down the road.

Once you have those identified, you can move on to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). And this is where the rubber meets the road. You must have specific measurements of how you’re doing in order to know if you’re making progress. You may have a great strategic priority for the next year, but if you don’t have a way to measure your progress (again, your KPIs) you can find yourself one month out from the end of the year without being any closer to accomplishing your goals. You may have been busy as a beaver all year long—doing things you thought were going to accomplish your goals. But if you don’t have specific milestones and ways to measure progress, you can end up having nothing to show for it (except your busyness).

Here’s a harsh reality. You customers, your bank, your shareholders—even your employees—don’t really care how busy you are (or how hard you worked). They want to know what you’ve produced.

There’s nothing wrong with being busy. It can be a good thing. Just make sure you’re busy doing the right things and that you’re measuring your progress as you go. And the only way to do that is with strategic (purposeful, measurable planning) that determines your activities.

Unless, of course, you’re too busy to do strategic planning!