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Balancing lead-manage-do

In reviewing the importance of "lead-manage-do", Brian McDonald of MOR Associates shared with me his essay on "Leading, Managing, Doing - A Balancing Act" (which you can find on the MOR web site.) I've discussed the "lead-manage-do" triangle before, but I'd like to review the key points from Brian's essay.

First, the definitions:

  • Leading The focus on the more strategic aspects of our role: tracking trends, anticipating future needs, developing vision and strategies to achieve goals, engaging others.
  • Managing Working to organize, allocate, and coordinate people & processes: drafting goals and operational plans, allocating resources, budgets, assigning responsibilities.
  • Doing The actual tasks: collecting data for a report, providing help of a routine nature, developing basic business processes, dealing with day-to-day email and phone calls.

So, what can leaders do to "do" less and "lead" more? Brian lists these 4 steps to help:

  1. Be clear in setting your priorities. Do you know your top priorities? Spend time only on the important things, not just the "immediate" items.
  2. Reduce the amount of time spent doing by handing some of these "doing" tasks off to others (delegating.) Set direction, establish priorities, and hold people accountable.
  3. Ensure that you have sufficient resources - and in right places - to get your organization's tasks done. Hire the best and continuously develop.
  4. Become more efficient in how you use your time. Be decisive, use defensive calendaring, avoid multi-tasking, organize, reduce the time spent on email, use meeting time wisely.