I woke up at 2AM on December 27 feeling wired – borderline anxious you could say – about my to do list. As I lay in bed staring out the window at the city lights, a stream of thoughts began running through my mind, only I wasn’t focussing on what I had to accomplish before the year end. No, I was obsessed with a different date: January 28.
Don’t worry, there isn’t a major event you’re missing. Rather, the date is of great personal significance to me. I’m probably not supposed to share this and our PR agency will chastise me for it, but I can’t contain my excitement. On January 28, my co-founders, team and I are going to break out of stealth mode and officially say “hello world,” with the public introduction of our company, enaible: AI-powered leadership. Simply put, through enaible, we will show how AI can make you a better leader.
Knowing that what we are about to do will transform the way leaders lead and shape human productivity, we’ve attempted to avoid alerting our competitors, but anyone who knows me well, knows I’m not very good at keeping my mouth shut. In reality, enaible has been the worst kept secret.
Needless to say, I’m enthusiastic about the impending date and all it represents, but what woke me from my deep sleep that night back in late December, was the thought of what could happen immediately after. Until now, we’ve been very selective in inviting customers to use enaible, but that is set to change. What’s more, we will soon be raising our Series A equity round.
Where am I going with this? You might be thinking. Well, it’s not a business pitch. Rather, the message I want to get across is that after my 2AM panic, I changed the way I lead. Specifically, given my profound awareness of what needed to be accomplished in the lead up to enaible’s official launch, I instantly became protective of my time and determined to be more decisive.
I’ve recently noticed that I’m guilty of allowing other people to determine how I use my time. While I learned decades ago about the urgent-important matrix, I still slip into the trap of allowing what is important to others become urgent to me.
Here, I’m reminded of the words of the late Dr. Steven Covey, “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.” In other words, you shouldn’t allow others to decide how you use your time. Instead, you need to lead others to align their time with your priorities.
In my case, my priorities were and remain clear. What’s changed is that I am now prioritizing importance over urgency. We all have a limited number of hours per week and, while we can’t create more, we can control how they are used by aligning our time expenditure with our priorities.
Recently, I set my new approach into action. During a conference call, I headed straight to the decision that needed to be made. In the past, I would have pondered the options and spent time blue-sky brainstorming, sometimes just for the fun of it, but on that occasion, acknowledging the preciousness of time made me cut to the chase.
Here I should point out that being decisive isn’t a justification for being dictatorial. Great leadership requires the input of others and discussion remains important, provided it relates to the priorities and doesn’t just amount to talk for the sake of it.
As the clock counts down to January 28, I am taking more notice than ever of how I lead. But this leaves a developmental question in my mind: why did I need a 2AM wakeup call as a catalyst? I should have made the changes simply because they were right to make.
What are you waiting for? Don’t delay what you can start today.