On August 23, 2021, Cindy Lewin was quoted in Gartner on specific practices she uses to stay strategic in a world filled with operational distractions and disruptions.
According to the article, even before COVID-19, general counsel typically spent as much as 72% of their time on tactical tasks such as attending meetings and fielding urgent requests, despite the desire to work more strategically. Now, with the surge in both workload and the number of communications, taking control of your schedule may feel increasingly difficult. Lewin and five other experienced general counsel shared with Gartner their real-life experiences to explain how they keep on course.
For her weekly 15-minute meeting, “I would always prepare a list with a ‘toot my horn’ section where I tell my CEO, ‘Here are the great things we in legal did for you and the organization this past week,” said Lewin, who previously served as the general counsel at three nonprofit organizations. “People say it’s hard for women… but I found it a lot easier to do this than trying to slip [my] achievements in other topics.” Thinking about the list of achievements for the CEO motivated her to prioritize her schedule.
Lewin also kept a sticky note, where she had written down five strategic goals for the year, on a physical calendar in her office. Every morning when she turned the page, she moved the post-it so that the five goals would stare at her and force her to think, “What am I doing today to move these goals?”