Developing Strategic Habits

The Webinar:

This month’s webinar was on


If you missed it you can
Download the Podcast
Download the whole Webinar
(which includes the presentation, and useful worksheets and templates.)
(more information below)

This is a good webinar to download if you find yourself being drawn into tactical or administrative work too much of the time, or if you always feel too busy to accomplish important, longer-term things.

Here is what we talked about in the webinar:

Developing Strategic Habits

Working on the most strategic stuff is hard. It’s easier to stay busy on tactical stuff. And working on strategic stuff often takes you out of your comfort zone.

What I have found is that you can depend on your powers of focus and self-discipline (which sounds really hard!), or you can create some new habits which put the strategic work in front of you more regularly — so it’s easier to get it done!

We talked about key habits that help a lot in 5 areas:

1. Thinking vs. Doing

Bad habits: 
Always being over-scheduled with meetings and travel.
The tendency to fill up all your time with the work.

Good Habits:

We covered techniques for how to think about “investing” your time vs. “spending it”.

A necessary habit to develop is to make sure you never work before you think. We talked about how to create the right triggers to give your self the thinking time needed to improve how you work.

Here is a good thing to think about while you are thinking! If you had 100% control of your time, how would you invest it, ideally? You should have this as a goal to work toward (in the webinar worksheets). We talked about key habits to judge how much time a task is worth (so you don’t spend more!).

2. ON the business vs. IN the business

Bad Habits:
The tendency to stay too busy “IN” the details of the work.
Failure to make bigger-picture improvements to the processes, organization, customers, products, services, and innovations (All examples of working “ON” the business.)

Good Habits:
How do you ensure that you are making forward progress in the business, not just working hard? We talked about how to create habits that trigger you to think about the big picture (working ON the business).

Also we talked about creating the habits to help you delegate more, and more often. You can’t work more strategically if you don’t delegate the work you shouldn’t be doing personally.

3. Communication and Curiosity

Bad Habits:
Working in an isolated manner.
Failing to get big-picture context on a task.

Good Habits:
Having the genuine curiosity to question the value, and the true desired outcomes of activities before working on them will allow you to work more strategically, and save time.

Communicating on purpose before and during the work helps you stay connected to the bigger picture for the business and organization. It’s also valuable to use peer review groups.

We also talked about how to deal with the annoying executive who either won’t tell you what the strategy is, or who defines it so clearly that you feel there is no room for you to be strategic.

Learn the key questions to ask, how to ask them, and the right way to involve your boss and team on these discussions. Also, it’s important to set expectations so that the work sticks the first time.

4. Lists and Scheduling

Bad Habits:
Working without planning.
Procrastinating or losing motivation on the hardest and most important tasks.

Good Habits:
We talked about key habits like writing down your Ruthless Priorities and putting specific tasks to support them on your calendar, maintaining a Catch vs. DO list, and several others.

Using your schedule as a crutch can help get more strategic work done. We talked about how to use your calendar and timelines to schedule the progress you need to make.

5. Long Term vs. Short Term

Bad Habits:
Delaying work on long term projects because it feels like you have plenty of time.

Good Habits:
We covered some important habits about breaking long term initiatives down into smaller tasks that you stage out on your calendar specifically. Your calendar can be a powerful ally against lack of discipline or procrastination. If you want to get a big thing done, break it into pieces and then schedule the pieces.

We talked about using a timeline (in the worksheets) both for your planning and communication and making sure you put the big hairy, high-risk items out of order, up front in your plan.

Want More?

If you missed the webinar and want to hear it in it’s entirety,(and get the worksheets) you can download it now.

All downloads are free for members.

More Resources

If you are interested in this topic of working more strategically, there are several other related webinars you can find in the Member Library.

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About Patty
Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at, follow her on twitter or facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.


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