How Leaders Invest Their Time to Create Momentum

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Updated from July 13, 2012 post

How important is the connection between where you invest your time, and the velocity of forward momentum?

It’s everything.

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Whether you’re leading a small team, a department, or the entire organization, where you choose to invest your time will have a direct bearing on the likelihood that things will surge ahead.

Here’s what it looks like in practical terms.

Your energy as a leader can be invested in any one of three “time accounts”; the “history account”, the “present account” and the “future account”. All three are important, and you as a leader need to spend some time investing in each of these.

The key to forward momentum, though, is in knowing how much of your energy to invest in each of these accounts.

Here is a basic investment guide.

The History Account

Activity in this account includes such practices as staff reviews, preparing or analyzing reports, and looking at last quarter’s financials.

Each of these activities has a place in the life of the leader, but in any given week aim to spend no more than 10% of your time here.

The Present Account

Another word for this account is “operations”. This includes all of your organization’s ongoing or immediate activities including most administrative functions.

As a leader you must invest some time here, but aim to invest no more than 40% of your time in the Present Account.

The Future Account

This is where momentum is driven. This is where vision happens. This is where dreams are birthed and nurtured.

Activities here include developing future leaders, strategic planning and long-term goal setting.

Effective leaders know they must invest their best time to this account.

Aim to invest no less than 50% of your time here.

Of course, these time suggestions are averages.

There are seasons in your year when you’ll invest more time in the History Account (such as year-end, or when preparing for an annual members meeting) as well as the Present Account (such as when conducting an off-site staff retreat).

But these seasonal variations notwithstanding, use these time parameters to guide your energy investment strategy.

The momentum dividends can be huge.

From which account do you generate the most momentum?


the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Global Leadership Network. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave, Willow & Olive and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.

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