Have you seen the recent Arby’s restaurant advertisements where people are distracted from their activities because they are thinking about eating at Arby’s? I have always been entertained by these clever ads and recently got a good laugh out of the one featuring two boat drivers who run their water ski team into a ski ramp because they were thinking about food instead of being focused on driving the boat and watching the skiing team.

After seeing the commercial, I began to compare the drivers’ behaviors to that of my own when I’m at work. I realized that there times when my daily tasks and responsibilities are affected because I, too, am focused and thinking about something else — the future and trying to be strategic. And vice versa — there are times at work when my ability to think strategically and be ahead of the curve fails because I’m so focused on my daily tasks and responsibilities. I know that many other people can relate. When I came to this conclusion, I felt oddly connected to the scenario in this advertisement. This behavior, when not managed effectively, could have drastic effects and cause problems on the job, with relationships, and one’s overall ability to function and perform at the level desired and expected.

After referring to CMOE’s Strategic Management Model, I discovered that I could attribute these behaviors to my inability to break loose from operational tasks. Instead of an Arby’s sign over the top of my head, I had an 800 pound gorilla on my back.

I acted on one of the steps of the Applied Strategic Management Model, which we call TAME THE BEAST, and after a week of dedicated practice was already more disciplined in my thinking. While there are many ways to “TAME THE BEAST,” I choose to allocate fifteen minutes at the beginning of each day to spend thinking strategically, and to use the rest of my work day for business as usual. Additionally, I applied the following ways to make this time more effective:

  • I moved away from my office to a quiet place.
  • I silenced my cell phone.
  • I began with trying to relax and clear my mind.
  • I occasionally used mediums to inspire creativity such as books, magazines, notepaper, music, and a file of my favorite quotes.

Thanks to these simple strategic leadership and management practices I engaged in every morning, my shoulders feel free of the 800 pound gorilla I’d been carrying, and if I had an Arby’s sign over my head, that would be gone too!

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Cherissa Newton

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