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Leadership lesson: Separate 'urgent' from 'important'

Friday, May 1, 2015  
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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"Good planning is hard," PepsiCo's Deanna Jurgens told nearly 300 NEW members and supporters during the NEW Leadership Academy webinar "Strategic Planning," May 1. "It is so easy to fill up our day with the 'urgent' — but not important — work."

Jurgens, vice president and general manager, PepsiCo sales for Target Corp., and Subriana Pierce, managing partner at Navigator Sales and Marketing, shared their professional insights during the one-hour webinar. Jo Miller, CEO of Women's Leadership Coaching, moderated.

For Jurgens, strategic planning "is a way of providing direction, making decisions and allocating resources to support or guide strategy." For Pierce, it's "where you put your people, your money, your support."

Strategic planning requires the ability to navigate and recognize interdependencies, Pierce said. "It isn't linear. We really have to have peripheral vision."

When planning, remember that you won't have every skill needed to reach a goal, Jurgens said. "Enlist the help of others — experts who understand the things that aren't your core competency."

During planning sessions, "remind people to stay grounded in the vision, in what you're trying to accomplish," Pierce advised. "We want to make sure we can work through ambiguity. Understand how vision translates into how we work with others, or how others work with us." But avoid picking through minutiae that can stall progress, she added.

Use strategic planning for your own professional development, too, Jurgens said. "Too many women leave career planning in the hands of their company. Start with the 'end' in mind. Where do you see yourself?"

Pierce urged Leadership Academy attendees to get serious about strategy. "Don't just 'check the list' after you leave this call. Be specific about what you're going to put into action."

NEW members may register online for the next NEW Leadership Academy webinar "Delivering Real Results," June 5 at 1 p.m. ET, for free. Non-members may view webinars for $99 per session. Members may view previous NEW Leadership Academy webinars in the NEW Study Hall.

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