Peter Drucker, one of the best-known and most influential thinkers on management said:
Nothing distinguishes effective leaders so much as their loving tender care of time.
Everything you do today that has value is about time. Whether working or engaged in other important activities, it’s all about time. Did you invest your time intentionally and proactively in the things that matter most or did a sizeable portion of your day slip by without you being able to account for its purpose?
At LMI, we love management and leadership. We get excited about helping managers and leaders be able to clarify their values, live out their purpose, establish inspiring vision and execute strategy to positively impact their staff, clients and the world in general.
But, and it’s a big but, none of this happens if the leaders in question aren’t in control of their time. When the urgency and intensity of day-to-day operations are allowed to encroach – and given the opportunity they always will – upon the time required to reflect, plan, organise and communicate, the bigger picture issues that are essential to great leadership just don’t happen. Or perhaps they happen to some degree but fail to get fully implemented.
Numerous stories have been told of executive team away days run by expensive consultants to write the company mission statement and come up with a list of core values. Once back at the office though, it’s amazing how often those wonderfully crafted words achieve very little beyond looking nice in the annual report!
Like any good relationship, time invested must be quality, focussed and consistent. Doing enough of the right things on a daily, weekly, monthly basis is the key.
85% of executive teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy, with 50% reporting that they spend virtually no time on strategy discussions. (R.S. Kaplan and D.P. Norton, The Execution Premium)
Doing the right thing occasionally won’t lead to the results required. It’s all about time being routinely, consistently, determinedly invested in the most important ‘high payoff’ activities.
We love vision, values, mission, purpose and strategy but we also know that all great leadership depends on that loving, tender care of time – a commitment to outstanding levels of personal productivity.