I was with a client earlier this week who recently saw the successful culmination of several long-term projects. Part of the conversation was centered on the fact that now that those projects are completed, there will be white space in his calendar. In other words, successful strategic execution freed up time in his daily agenda. The obvious and immediate temptation will be to fill that white space with tasks. But he acknowledged the worst thing he can do for the company is give in to the temptation to dive into details and the minutia of the business simply because he has the time.

Two things stood out to me from that conversation. First, successful strategic execution frees up white space. Second, we need to resist the temptation to fill that white space immediately. Rather, we should use it to think. Taking the time to wander and think is often where the ideas that truly drive a business forward come from. This is easier said than done because it can begin to feel as though we’re not doing our jobs. There’s something in high performers that demands being busy to feel productive. We know activity does not automatically equal productivity, but we feel guilty for not doing our job when inactive.

Strategic execution done improperly adds hours every week to the already overcrowded calendars of the leadership team. But proper strategic execution actually gives hours back, allowing us to jump off the hamster wheel. One of my greatest joys as a Growth Guru is watching busy executives get their lives back.

-Eric Smith