HOW ARE YOU
Time Management has turned into a very large business. A search on Amazon reveals more than 30,000 entries. There are thousands of consultants, special time tracking software solutions, and even a “Productivity Institute” dedicated to delivering high quality seminars on this topic. Yet, every senior leader we meet is struggling with their schedule.
None of the conventional solutions have worked because they haven’t gotten to the core issue – most of us are flying at the wrong altitude. Every week, we see leaders who are involved in meetings they should not attend, making decisions that should be handled by someone on their team (or even lower in the organization), and are slowing things down by having to approve things they shouldn’t even know about. It really is ok (and wonderfully liberating) to not know every minute detail of what is going on in your organization.
The only solution that will have any impact is to ruthlessly remove yourself from things. Yes – it must be ruthless:
- Become really skilled at using the decline button on Outlook meeting requests.
- Remove yourself from meetings or walk out if they wander or just doesn’t require you.
- Remove yourself from approval processes and push decisions aggressively to others. Get really good at saying – “It’s your call, I trust you”.
- Stop trying to track the key activities of your team members- it’s their job to manage their inventory and keep you informed.
- Send members of your team to represent you.
- Make it a sport – challenge yourself to get out of as much as you can every day.
Warren Buffet doesn’t need any fancy time management tricks or software tools because he protects his time like the precious commodity that it is. Our CEO recently spent time with a leader who ran a business for Berkshire Hathaway for several years. Warren never called him. It didn’t matter if the business was doing well or struggling. But, Warren was always available if the leader wanted to call him. How refreshing is that?
If this seems crazy or uncomfortable, ask yourself what it is about your personality tendencies or your company culture that is holding you back. You will know you are being successful when the organization thinks and says – “she doesn’t want to see or be involved in this” (instead of – “we better run this by her”).
Remember the sage advice: “the most important investment decision you make is how to invest you”.