Situation: A CEO is building a new company. She has a small, highly qualified team, and much of the work is hands-on. In addition, there is fund raising to support the venture. The CEO also makes time for exercise and keeping in shape. With all of this on her plate she is getting overwhelmed. How do you focus on priorities in an early stage company? How do you make time for priorities?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Maintain your exercise and health – this makes everything else easier.
- Decide on your strategic platform. This creates a larger conceptual framework and helps to clarify priorities.
- Identify the gating items. Focus effort here and spend scarce resources strategically to push your goal.
- Within your gating items, identify the factors that make you scalable. Focus most of your effort here.
- Create a weekly focus.
- Lay out your to-do list in a Covey quadrant – most and least important vs. urgent and not urgent. Review this weekly to eliminate or delegate less important priorities.
- Operational issues are usually symptoms – identify the causes and fix them.
- Daily, list what you’ve done. Look back every 1-2 weeks and assess how you spent your time. Eliminate time wasters.
- Don’t let you passion be undermined by the drudgery.
- As an early stage company, you have to react – understand and appreciate that some aspects of early stage company life will not be very strategic.
- Fix things rather than adding people and complexity. This compliments Fisher’s Stages of Growth recommendations for a company of under 11 people.