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Too Busy Doing Business to Do Business

I just met with a corporate Executive VP in Philadelphia. I’ll call him Les. Les said his division was struggling. But instead of leading the charge to turn things around, he was constantly being called into meetings to deliver 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.

Does 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.

The Fallacy of “More Is More”

Multitasking_delays In a well-known graph about productivity and multi-tasking (from a 1990′s Harvard Study by Steven C.Wheelwright and Kim B.Clark), two researchers showed the benefits of multitasking – but only in situations where the subject worked on two things at once. Any more than two, and productivity declined. A lot.  This graph shows the results of productivity as related to number of tasks. 

The Lesson: People who multitask actually do far worse on performance than people who eliminate distractions and focus their attention on one or two things.

What to do?

1. 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 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. It’s almost impossible to say “no” with confidence unless you are clear about what’s really important.

4. If you are in Les’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.

What priorities will you clarify today so that you do the right business?


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 Yesterday 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.Does 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?1. 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.4. 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 managing this?________________________________________________You might also enjoy:Work Satisfaction and Happiness: Is Your Heart At Peace?What Life Choice Are You Making: Bitter or Better?
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 Yesterday 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.

Does 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 Busyhallway 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?

1. 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.

4. 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 managing this?
________________________________________________

You might also enjoy:


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