Does anybody really care?
Many of you might recall these lyrics from the band Chicago from their hit song by the same name. As we work our way into the first few months of 2013 we and those in our organizations might be asking “Where did the time go?” or saying “2012 went by so fast!”.
As leaders, time management is a crucial element of our success, especially at the rate of change in today’s business environment. Many of us rely on a myriad of technology to keep us organized. Smart phones that sync to our email systems and integrate with our web or PC-based calendar systems are the norm these days. In spite of this technology as many as 75% of people do not have an effective system to manage their time. Technology, like any tool is only as effective as the people who use them. Success lies in how we think about our time as none of these tools actually manage our time. We manage our own time and it is our attitude toward time management that ultimately determines our success in doing so.
Consider, for example, a situation we all run into as leaders – meeting obligations and commitments. When we give our word to another person, we create the potential to succeed. When we keep our word to that person, we increase our own personal power as someone who is reliable and can be trusted on his or her word. This combination of potential and personal power leads to being a highly effective leader using the same 24 hours in a day that everyone else around them has available to them. Also consider what commitments and obligations your organization is making to your customers, suppliers and strategic partners. Is everyone in your organization realizing their personal power whenever they commit your organization? Does your organizational alignment promote that personal power by creating an accountable culture that respects the value of time? What are the most common excuses and how tolerant is your culture to being late for meetings or deadlines? How respectful are your sales teams for customers, suppliers and/or company time?
So what is the difference between these highly effective leaders and those who are not? Successful leaders do not manage their time for the sake of filling out their day. Successful leaders understand that time management is really goal management and they invest their time in the pursuit of achieving their goals. Without goals we end up using time, or in the more common vernacular, wasting time because the time we have has no immediate purpose. With goals we have a mechanism to prioritize our time and to ensure the right resources are doing the right tasks during a given amount of time. Time management is goal management and effective goal management gets to the heart of what makes a leader successful – setting goals and achieving desired results!
What time is it in your business?