I met with a corporate Executive VP in New York City. I’ll call him
Phil. Phil said his division was struggling. But instead of leading the
charge to turn things around, he was being called into meetings
regularly to make lengthy, detailed, Powerpoint presentations explaining
what was wrong. He was too busy doing business to be doing the business.
Interestingly, one of his recommendations was for the company to get
out of some of its operations because they were draining money and other
resources. He explained that his people were spending too much time on
things that no longer yielded the kind of margins the company desired.
any of this sound remotely familiar to you? I realized while he was
talking to me that I had gotten up at 5 a.m. to deal with emails from a
European client; spent time on the cell phone in transit with a
non-profit, pro bono client who needed to talk; and allowed myself to be
sidetracked by hallway conversations with managers from the client
group who I hadn’t seen in a while. A similar schedule unraveled today.
What is there to learn?
If you do business globally in the electronic age, the expectation is
that you are available on “their” time…or you should be. So choose
carefully–you can’t afford to be awake 24 hours a day.
2. Time management isn’t really just about time. It’s about clear priorities. Which means…
3. It’s important to say “no.” In fact, I think “no” is the solution to a lot of this craziness.
If you are in Phil’s position, at some point you need to tell those
above you that the very act of “over-reporting” is exacerbating the
problem. Do it respectfully. Share the impact and consequences on your
business and let them take responsibility for whether or not it makes
sense to continue the external demands on your time.
How are you handling this in your life?