A senior technology leader recently lamented, “I am tired of routine meetings and pointless discussions. In many cases, I realised I was adding no significant value to most of these FYIs. I seem to have no time left for doing strategic work.”

Leaders today are bombarded with endless invitations to meetings and conference calls. On most occasions, they attend these to find themselves simply being informed of ‘business as usual’ developments or managing team/peer conflicts. Only on a few such huddles do they end up making important and critical decisions worth their time.

On the other hand, the teams that invite senior leaders to these mundane meetings often convey ‘updates’ which end up sounding like ‘what did we keep ourselves busy with over the last week/month/quarter!”

In a majority of such events, the leader’s precious time is wasted, the teams feel happy they have informed their boss and, historical reviews and post-mortems are periodically conducted with little focus on future strategy or action planning.

Empirical evidence shows that most leaders and executives are plagued with more FYI (information) than FYA (action) regularly.

To devote more time for matters of strategic importance, leaders must –

– Tabulate how much of their time is spent on FYI vs FYA. These could relate to scheduled meetings/calls, unscheduled walk-ins or even emails.

– Continuously review the FYI list and dissuade teams from giving/sending them irrelevant or inconsequential updates

– Examine the FYA list and explore delegating these, as far as possible

– Distinguish the I vs A in the occasional FYI/A situations.

Keeping a close watch on their FYI vs FYA will enable leaders to –

– focus on strategic initiatives

– take meaningful and crucial decisions more effectively

– empower their teams to take on more challenging responsibilities and,

– truly contribute on matters of their best interests.