Written by Mandy Balak
Leadership is a challenging and expansive experience. Over the last 15+ years in leadership roles — running my own business and teams as a CEO, sitting at the leadership table inside organizations, or working alongside teams as a Leadership Coach, I’ve learned that practice and consistency are key when it comes to building confidence in your leadership. And practice takes one of our most precious resources —time.
Being a leader is the ultimate personal growth journey — leading people means more relationships and more relationships mean more mirrors. That’s why it’s so important as a leader you keep your cup full, prioritize time for yourself, and continue to invest in your growth and development.
You’ve heard the importance of working ON your business vs. working IN your business to keep your business moving forward, but what does this really mean and how can you start practicing this as part of your regular routine?
I recommend a 70/30 split of working ON vs. working IN your business.
This means that 70% of your time is dedicated to where you’re going, who’s on your team, staying in tune with the numbers, and metrics that indicate if you’re on or off track, and adjusting as needed. The remaining 30% of your time is in the day-to-day operations — staying connected to your people, your customers, the delivery of your product, and the overall experience of your business.
As the CEO, aside from setting the vision and direction of your business, you’re really responsible for 3 things; People, Culture, and Numbers.
If you’re ever wondering where your time is best invested on a day-to-day basis, it’s in one of these 3 areas.
People — getting the right people in the right seats, developing them, and stewarding the mission through your people.
Culture — the essence, energy, and experience of your mission in all areas; team, communication, values, customer journey, and brand.
Numbers — the resources required to grow and sustain and the leading indicators and metrics to watch. This is where you get to deepen your intimacy with your business and use data to align your strategy.
Working in these arenas requires deep work — uninterrupted thinking, planning, and integration time. It also requires a thirst for growth and innovation that can’t be found pounding keys behind your laptop.
Quick check-in — how much time in your calendar is dedicated to your growth? Do you have space to pause, think and reflect or, are you moving from one tab to another, head hitting the pillow exhausted every night?
To be an effective CEO and Leader of your mission and your team, you need space to think and feel so that you can move from a grounded and confident place, not a chaotic, burnt-out and reactive one.
This is where I see even the most seasoned entrepreneurs get in their own way — feeling guilty about not having a grip on everything, holding a belief that they need to be working in the business every moment of the day, or feeling that things will all fall apart if they don’t do it themselves. This is a survival mechanism — it leads to micromanagement, not leadership, and inevitably hurts the growth of the business.
I’m going to write another post on how our survival strategies impact our business strategies shortly, it’s an important yet weighted topic… stay tuned!
If you’ve read this far you’re probably feeling like I’ve written you a permission slip to take a step back so you can step into your full power.
Here are a few practices I share with both the emerging and tenured leaders I work with inside my Masterminds, Private Coaching, and Membership. Take what you want and leave the rest and as always, meet yourself where you’re at — if you’re already dialed on a few see if you can optimize and get 1% better. Or, if you’re just getting started, choose one thing and work on being consistent on this before you add another one.
Practice over perfection, always.
Here are 5 Feel Good Rituals That Every CEO Should Know
- Schedule regular thinking, reflection, and integration time — moving from one thing to the next is how you perpetuate problems instead of solving them. It also can create chaos and burnout in your organization. Innovation requires space. Open up your calendar and put these holds in your calendar:
- Monthly Review Time — I like to do this on the last Friday of each month to review key learnings, goals, and numbers and circle back to intentions from the beginning of the month and how I want to improve next month. I have created a dashboard for my clients for monthly review, it’s a game-changer. Send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll share it with you.
- Weekly Integration — Without reflection and integration time, you’re not absorbing anything and probably are struggling to see wider than your day-to-day. If you feel like your months are a blur, this will be impactful for you; carve our Friday afternoons to review the calendar for the week, circle back to emails, and communication, and set your next week up. Reflect on lessons learned and ways you want to improve and grow. Closing out like this helps you to actually enjoy your weekend too. A rested CEO is good for business after all.
- Creative/ Innovation Space — You have to practice and prioritize your creative muscle so that when you need it, it’s well-trained. Give yourself space to innovate and get into a creative flow — you can forward think on marketing and sales initiatives, batch content to increase your business visibility, strategize your next big idea or streamline your business model. Make it fun and go on do not disturb for one focused day a month.
- Morning Routine — Space to think about how you want to show up, what thoughts are on your mind, and the energy you want to bring into your day. How you set the tone for the day can have a significant impact on your culture, the behavior you’re modeling, and sets an example for your team. I love to use this time to journal, read, and practice breathwork — I check in with how much time I have and what my body is craving each day and then work with the resources I have.
- Team Development Time — Check in with your people. Having the right people in the right seats, all moving in the same direction is what will move your vision forward. It’s all about your people. It’s easy to skip a one-on-one if nothing feels pressing or urgent but if you make this a habit, you’ll always be moving from on-fire and urgent when it comes to your team, which is very expensive. If you have a small team you could implement a daily huddle to keep the vibes high and increase collaboration [ 15 mins a day ] discussing priorities or, if you’re more of a one-on-one leader you can add a weekly or a monthly and work towards retreats as a group to really deep dive — don’t skip the personal stuff, get to know what your people are excited about outside of your business.
- Bonus… Celebration time! Celebrating your wins as a team is important yes, it helps your culture thrive, your team becomes more productive and you’re riding a wave of momentum into your next projects. While you’re clapping them up, make sure you acknowledge yourself too. It can be lonely at the top, remember to give yourself a pat on the back, you’re doing a great job.
Now, take action — pull up your calendar and schedule in your space.
Above all else, hold your vision and trust the process.
Start practicing these rituals, even if it’s just a few minutes a day… like anything you want to get better at, you need to practice.
A well-resourced CEO leads to a high-impact business strategy.
If you’d like support on your leadership journey, I’m excited to meet you there. Here’s how I can support you to confidently step into your next edge.
- Step Into Your Next Level of Leadership – The Leadership Accelerator is a 4 part masterclass series designed to shape confident leaders, helping you scale your business with less stress and more fulfillment. Join here.
- Apply for private mentorship — Think of me as your co-captain or fractional CEO. Together, we’ll co-create a custom roadmap to ignite your next-level leadership growth. Apply here.