I was recently at one of my clients and saw a slogan on the wall that could be a summary of reality, many people I meet every day face. “Who sows ASAPs, collects F * CKUPs”
I sometimes get the impression that in the race called “career and life” we forget about the important values that are responsible for the sense of accomplishment in life. I often see inadequate attempts to replace the “HEALTHY SLEEP” with a set of ineffective mystification of the so-called “MY FANTASIES ON THE …”.
If the LAST MINUTE deadline, becomes our standard of living and begins to fill most of our life activities, sooner or later we will land on the couch with a powerful harvest gathered on the way of ruined relationships, a sense of personal disaster, lighter or heavier addictions, or deep depression.
I recently had a situation with another client, who wanted to cancel the workshop date that has been set for more than a month, explaining that I quote: “His people have gone and there are no attendees in place.” I disregard the fact that he was surprised by the question of my compensation, which in such situations is at 100% rate.
He responded that after all the workshop is not cancelled, he just want to move it to a different date. I would be curious of his reaction in the opposite situation – the whole management team is going to a tomorrow’s workshop and then I’ll call him, telling him I’m away and will not be there tomorrow. Of course, I shouldn’t have to worry because I’m not canceling a meeting, I just move it. I know many people for whom such a turn would be difficult to accept.
I wonder what reel you have to be running in to treat managing human resources as a secondary issue. Of course, there are many justifications. However, it is worth remembering that the excuse is, just like the truth, dependent on a person. Unfortunately, the excuse does not really move us forward. It gives a temporary emotional relief, but it does not affect the reality that will always catch up with us.
Efficiency in action is a function of two factors: effectiveness and dexterity, where effectiveness is doing the right thing as quickly as possible, and dexterity is doing the right thing. In order to be highly effective, it is necessary to introduce both of these aspects into everyday management, but reality is often far from ideal. We are seeing more and more effective managers who can not be efficient because they have lost the sense of direction they are facing. Their weaknesses connected with setting priorities they try to compensate with high activity, because being mega busy, you may forget for a moment that you do not know what the purpose is. Gilbert’s cartoon is reminiscent of the fact that his company mainly produces meetings. The only question arises is what these meetings really are and whether they sometimes do not resemble filling one void with another void.
How to fix this?
While conducting a management workshop, I asked the participants to completely turn off the phones. Not to switch the sound to vibrate, just pressed the “Off” button twice. Very interesting experience. Several people did not remember their PIN number. Part was unable to do so justifying the need to be online. I wonder where is the boundary between the conscious decision to be online and the addiction to the phone.
I was recently in the elevator with a woman who traveling to the 16th floor turned on and off her phone three times checking … not sure what. Acting on such a strong impulse, we do not have time to grasp the direction and meaning of our actions. In a continuous run forward, we forget why we are running at all. The situation is a bit like a hamster, which after running all day in a reel in a cage, finally jumped out of it and discovered that he had been there before.
I am a huge advocate of being online, the benefits of it are unbelievable – the efficiency of the action can increase many times, but the effectiveness is already driven by completely different tools. Its key question is the question of why am I doing what I am doing and how does this affect my long-term goals. After such an analysis, it may turn out that many of the issues we deal with in person may be delegated to someone else, either in the organization or outside. By releasing resources in this way, it turns out that we have no time for what is really important and what builds our result and strategic advantage in the long run.
One of participants asked me what to do when he receives about 20 emails per hour. I offered him two solutions for simultaneous use. First, to work in intervals of 45 – 15 – 45 minutes, 45 of work in focus, 15 minutes of email verification and again 45 minutes of work in focus and 15 minutes of e – mail. Second, to go to the fast reading course, because most of the content sent to him does not require an answer, only assimilating information.
Another method is to evaluate each day and week in terms of the effectiveness of their activities. A friend of mine, who did M.B.A. at Harvard University, told me that at the beginning of his course, every student received a copy of The Journal of Personal Reflection. At the end of each day, the task was to devote 5 minutes to reflect on all the actions they had taken and answer three questions:
• What did I learn today?
• What will I change tomorrow?
- What did I do today to be closer to my goal?
The simplicity of this approach is interesting. I remember when I heard about it for the first time I decided to put such a journal to use. To my surprise, at the end of the first day, I had difficulty answering these questions in a meaningful way. I realized how far I am from personal effectiveness. However, with time the answers began to appear and after some time the results were the best justification for this practice.
The third way is to give yourself time to answer. We operate in an environment where more and more things that surround us are instant – instant coffee, instant messenger, etc. Frequently we are expected to respond immediately. However, it turns out that if we answer in an hour, the world will continue to exist. On the other hand, for us this hour can do a lot. So next time you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What happens if I do not respond immediately?
- Do I have resources to take on the task?
- What will happen if I say NO?
- What will happen if I say yes?
This moment of pause and reflection is very orderly decision-making and emotional, and therefore has a positive effect on the level of personal effectiveness.
Instead of a summary
I sometimes feel that instead of practicing in a fast-paced reality, it’s a good idea to stop and work on efficiency for a while. Give yourself time to rest and ask some key questions about the direction, purpose and meaning of your activities – not only professionally but also personally. Answers to these questions usually do not come easily and require time, which unfortunately we are constantly missing. But without a pause, there is no chance to change the perspective in which we function, nor to generate creative solutions that will improve the quality of the reality in which we operate.
This upcoming June weekend, maybe it’s a good time to give it a go and look at life from a different perspective. Not a week, a month, or a quarter but many upcoming years. The next ten that are ahead of us. And instead of escaping into your favorite activities compensating for a strong emotional arousal, give yourself a reflection on what might be a new direction for your life or business in which you function.