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In “The Accidental Creative” Todd Henry speaks about two more areas that he believes are key in providing structure and rhythm to the creative process. These are:
4. Stimuli - he says “What comes in must come out.” It is for us to determine what is important to come into our sphere and what is just noise. He says to focus on stimuli that are challenging, relevant and diverse. He also says that three factors should play a role in the direction:
5. Hours - Henry says that we have to let go of our constant crunch on time. As creatives he says we are judged on our effectiveness, not our efficiency. If you want to have a lot of ideas then you have to structure time to do that by establishing the following:
So how do you keep all of this on track - this structure and this rhythm? Well Henry says to have regular checkpoints to add discipline to your life. It includes weekly, monthly, and quarterly check-ins in each of these five areas to see where you are making progress and where you need to make adjustments. It is also a way to create accountability, traction, and clarify opportunities.
How are you managing the stimuli and hours? What are you doing keep track of your creativity? Which of these five areas can you implement in order to bring a bit more structure to your creativity?
As a leader, developing a plan for the year can be a time consuming task. Setting the correct course of actions for the year, however, can pay off in dividends in achieving your true long term goals. But the real rubber meets the road when you actually put the plan into action.
How can you make sure you stay on course especially at the beginning of the year?
Create quarterly/weekly plans based off the annual plan - in order to truly meet your longer term goals create smaller action steps that you can focus on daily to achieve those goals. Break down the larger plans into actionable items to do each week and each quarter. This will make the goals less daunting and easier to follow.
Look at your quarterly/weekly goals every morning - in order to stay focused on your goals and on track review those weekly and quarterly goals daily and do the action items that are relevant. By looking at them each day they stay top of mind and reinforces actions that you need to take.
Create some discipline around the new goals - reinforcing the importance of the goals in reaching your long range vision is important to communicate to yourself and your team on a regular basis, especially in the beginning of the year. Creating disciplined messages and actions that are consistent with the goals creates new habits, which will be invaluable in keeping you on track.
Stay flexible with your actions - fire drills will be an inevitability of your role as a leader so staying flexible in your actions is key. However knowing what your plans and vision truly are and where they are taking you will keep the fire drills in perspective and allow you to come back to the long term goals when the emergencies are over.
How are you staying on track with your 2011 goals?
Monica Thakrar has over 14 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.