Thursday, September 21, 2023

8 Ways to Balance Your Bandwidth

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Eric Allais is President & CEO of PathGuide Technologies, which provides warehouse management and shipping solutions for distributors.

Running a successful business is difficult. Running a successful, profitable business is even harder. Running a successful and profitable business year after year is even more difficult. What I’ve learned throughout my career is that you need to keep stopping while making decisions that will move you and the organization forward, recognizing that the competition for your time and attention is fierce.

Limited bandwidth is a common complaint I hear among my colleagues, and the main culprit is our inability to balance when juggling competitive pressures, deadlines and constituencies. Here are eight exercises I include in my daily routine to find balance within my range:

1. Be decisive.

This is number one on the list, and for good reason. Above all, decisiveness can make or break a leader. Do you make decisions based on all the information available and what experience have you learned (not to mention your intuition)? Or do you find yourself in a perpetual state of swamp and want just a little more information before making a final decision? As a key executive, your company’s stakeholders—whether they’re your employees, managers, customers, board of directors, or shareholders—count on you to act decisively and use sound judgment.

2. Inspire urgency.

Good leaders inspire teams to act with a sense of urgency. This is especially true when timing is critical to meeting expectations. If you find that teams lack a sense of urgency, dig deeper to determine the cause. There may be a lack of clarity about the importance of the assigned project or task. Or maybe they’ve gotten too comfortable in their roles. One way to inspire urgency is to praise employees who model the organizational urgency you demand from the team.

3. Be selective.

It is better to attack fewer projects and do them well than to tackle many projects that are half-baked or poorly thought out. Focus on the business drivers that have the most impact and deserve your attention, especially those that have the greatest impact on revenue, cash flow, customer acquisition, etc. Avoid getting bogged down in the details (although some may bog down management’s attention to better understand the issues and give advice). The key is to strive for successful results. Recognize when you should play an advisory role and hand over substantive expertise to the right team member. Trying to tackle every project that comes your way can backfire and cost your business significantly.

4. Delegate liberally.

Are your managers and teams willing to take over project ownership? Do they have the knowledge, understanding and ability to do this? And have you instilled the confidence in them to want to take on these projects? If not, how can you work with them to ensure that projects delegated to them are successful and not wasted? While you’re at it, think about which meetings can be delegated. Those involving sensitive, personnel-related calls are best handled by a direct supervisor and/or HR. And how do you delegate the generation of thoughts and ideas? If you lead creative brainstorms, the team may hold back because you inadvertently suppress the freedom of thought in the group.

5. Build trust.

Consider the types of behaviors of individuals and teams that help build a solid foundation of trust across your organization. For most, consistency and follow-up are key to building trust. There may be exceptions when circumstances change (e.g., markets, resource availability, etc.) that may need to be rotated or regrouped to handle new situations, but following them up should be a habit. Without it, your commitment will be questioned. If you say you’re going to do something, do it.

6. Attack fears and anxiety.

Don’t let fear or anxiety get in the way of progress. You will encounter failures and roadblocks, but your organization depends on you to overcome the fear that things will not go the way you want them to. What can you do in these situations? Consider asking a trusted advisor for advice. Or take a breather and recalibrate before continuing. Learn which methods work best for you and nip those fears and worries in the bud.

7. Institutionalize Knowledge.

Where do you store knowledge within your organization? Is it in the hands of just a few top lieutenants who can walk out the door tomorrow and start their own business? And how does your team access these knowledge repositories? Identify opportunities to institutionalize organizational knowledge so that repeatable functions are accessible to as many employees as needed. Norms and conventions around ‘how we do things’ are needed to promote consistency, control and efficiency.

8. Rate your performance.

Finally, check the projects you are working on. Would you like to include any of them on your resume? Are some less noticeable and just fill your already busy schedule? Don’t just look at projects and results, but also rate your performance in relation to how you complete your projects. Do you work well when you are constantly disturbed? To what extent are you multitasking? And are the results better or worse? Understanding what you do and how you do it is critical to your success — or failure — as a leader.

Final Thoughts

While we all struggle to find balance in our professional lives, I believe that building these actions into our functions will free up much-needed bandwidth and shape us into more efficient and effective business leaders. Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?

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