Everything feels urgent. Our daily to-do lists are endless. We are expected to keep up with our day-to-day, while also being innovative and executing the business growth strategy. But how do we make time for the strategy?

A simple way to think about this is tactical is what needs to be done today; is routine or functional and focused on short term outcomes. Strategic is what needs to be done sometime in the future and is work that adds measurable long term value to the business.

We recently hosted a CHRO networking forum and asked the question, “what are your top challenges for 2019?” The resounding response from our leaders was “finding time is tough, we want to work on the strategic agenda but we get pulled in so many different directions.”

It’s no wonder. A global talent crunch is looming, with skilled labor shortages predicted to hit 85.2 million workers by 2030 (1). 64% of employees burn out because of unreasonable workload and too much overtime or after-hours work (2). and the average mobile device user checks their device 150 times and averages 5.6 hours on social media each day (3).

If we work from the assumption that you can’t eliminate the tactical work then how to do you make time for both?

We asked the same CHROs to share some of the strategies they use and here’s what they said:

  • Protect your strategic work. Ensure your organization is designed in a way that allows you to dedicate resources to strategic work as well as flawlessly execute your tactical work.
  • Plan for your strategic work by intentionally making time for it in your calendar. Set intentions each day. Write on a piece of paper each morning and keep it in sight… “it will be an incredible day if I can move the needle on these 3 strategic items
  • Partner with external resources that can serve as flexible resource for capacity and capability to supplement your team.

Wishing for the impossible will only make your day more frustrating. Try one or two of the above strategies and see if it will launch you towards being the 1/10 that successfully execute their strategy.

We’d love to hear some of the ways you ensure that the tactical doesn’t drive out the strategic.

1. (KornFerry, Future of Work: The Talent Shift, 2018)
2. (Dana Wilkie, “Workplace burnout at ‘Epidemic proportion’” SHRM 2017)
3. (Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2014 and 2015; Adweek Internet Trends, 2017.)