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This week’s riff

I was sharing a strategy proposal with a potential new client this week when he asked me how much time the work would demand of him and his top team. I told him that it would need between 3-5 days of dedicated time over 6 weeks to deliver the results we’d agreed. “Oh dear,” he sighed, “I don’t think that we can spare that much.”

All of the highest-performing businesses that I have worked with are led by executives who are able to balance short-term and longer-term demands. One particularly successful CEO told me that he uses the 80-15-5 rule. That is, he and his team spend 80% of their time focused on delivering this year’s results. Another 15% on ensuring they deliver next year’s results. And then 5% working on ideas that will only land beyond the next two years.

Taking that CEO’s model and assuming that you work 2o0 days each year. That means that you should be spending 30 days a year developing and delivering ideas for next year’s success. Then 10 days on ideas that will drive your organization’s performance beyond the next 24 months. In other words, you should be spending around a day a week working on the longer-term growth of your company.

I’m still waiting to see if I’ve been successful in persuading my buyer that the time spent on developing a focused and coherent strategy that his entire leadership team can own and drive will be well invested. But, in fast-changing and dynamic markets, it’s difficult to see how, if you’re solely and continuously focused on the next quarter’s results, you can expect longer-term success to be achieved.


So, how close to the 80-15-5 model do you get?

And how many days each week, month and year do you and your leadership team spend on developing and delivering your organisation’s longer-term success?


Off The Record: In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evans

In the year 5555

Your arms hanging limp at your sides

Your legs got nothing to do

Some machines doing that for you


© Stuart Cross 2017. All rights reserved.