Many of us let the time manage us rather than managing it. Time perhaps is the most important resource ever known to the human beings. Often we wonder how nice would it be if we could recall the past time. Interestingly, this is the only resource, which is available in equal measure for everyone. However, we find many a person finishing most days behind the clock. Everyone is busy in some work or other and it looks as if no one has enough time for one’s work. As per Bill May, President of American Can Company “Time is the most valuable thing we deal with. It cannot be bought, it cannot be recaptured. It must be utilized with the highest degree of effectiveness possible”. In this context let us have a look at what the management guru said quite some time back…..
Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed. – Peter Drucker
Most people find it difficult, if not impossible to cope-up with the demands for time and many complain of shortage of available time. As a matter of fact, time is the most critical and predictable resource which is available to all in a fixed amount, with fixed rate of expenditure and is irretrievable i.e. there is absolutely no way to recover it once it is spent. It is also irreversible and irreplaceable. No one can save it for a rainy day or accumulate it like raw materials or money. This leads us to the fact that the problem is not really time but how we use it. As professed by Peter Drucker, unless time is managed nothing else can be managed. Time management has gained tremendous importance in the recent decades prompting the start of the time management consultancies.
Hence, it is only logical to look into various aspects of this wonder resource and it is management. First let us browse through some of the popular misconceptions about Time.
- Myths of time management
The myth of activity:Often managers tend to confuse activity with results. We also recall the story of the popular countryside pastor whose sermon notes was found reading “Weak point …. Shout!”. Activity, initially designed to achieve predetermined ends, ultimately becomes the end itself.
The myth of decision level:There is a notion that people who are paid more make smarter decisions and the more decisions made at the top, the better off the organization will be. However, the management principle holds that decisions should be made at all possible levels consistent with good judgement and availability of relevant facts, owing to the fact that higher decisions cost more and lower decisions are based on greater familiarity with the circumstances
The myth of delayed decisions:Many managers delay to avoid the commitment. This syndrome has been termed “paralysis of analysis”. Often, the longer a difficult decision is delayed, the more difficult it becomes to make besides lessening the time available for taking corrective action if it is wrong. The excuse often given is that the manager “needs more facts. But the absurdity of “waiting till all the facts are in” should be realised.
The Myth of delegation:Effective delegation saves time in the end, but initially it takes time for planning what should be delegated, selecting and training competent staff, communicating expectations, involving the team in decisions, for measuring and rewarding etc. It is not a shortcut to avoid worry and responsibility. Ultimate accountability rests with the top manager, regardless of who performs the work
The myth of efficiency:Efficiency is often confused with effectiveness. To be effective on a given task at a given time, may be highly inefficient. Efficiency is doing the right things right while effectiveness is optimizing results with the least expenditure of resources, including time. There is no point in doing cheaply what should not be done at all.
The myth of hard work:Some managers tend to confuse perspiration with accomplishment, prefer action to thought and avoid planning. They would do much better to start nothing until it has been thought through. The time management principle of planning indicates that every hour spent in effective planning saves three to four in execution and insures better results. One needs to work smarter, not harder.
The myth of omnipotence:By doing it themselves, many managers are convinced that they get things done faster and better. The fallacy in this reasoning is that by refusing to delegate the task to someone else, and taking the time to see that he knows how to do it right, the manager is ensuring that the next time he will have no choice but to do it again since no one else has learned how. This problem arises from the successes managers enjoy initially and they think that they are successful because of their actions. They insist on doing things they should delegate, and they would have no time to manage.
The myth of the overworked executive: Many executives get illusion of indispensability along with omnipotence. Concluding that the enterprise couldn’t survive without their presence, they pass up vacations, work long days and weekends, and wonder why they aren’t appreciated more. Their refusal to delegate and their preoccupation with detail brings heaps of paperwork; their perfectionism places unrealistic demands upon themselves as well as their staff; Surveys of executive habits consistently show that the higher a manager moves in the enterprise, the longer hours he works.
The myth of the “Open Door”:The “Open Door” policy was originally meant to make managers available to those subordinates who needed help when they needed it, but has come to be treated as physically ‘open’ at all times. Being always available is no guarantee of success as a manager. On the contrary, he finds it impossible to get his own work done and he falls prey to the corridor wanderers. Effective managers are unanimous in their condemnation of the “open door”. They agree on the need for planned unavailability achieved by a “quiet hour,” or a skillful secretary taking call – backs, or a hideaway, or simply staying at home for a few hours of concentration without interruption.
The myth of problem identification:Effort and time are wasted many times solving the wrong problems. Hence the axiom: a problem well-stated is half solved. A husband discovered the floor covered with six inches of water. He called his wife to bring the mops. She called back telling him to turn off the tap first. A simple case of mistaken problem identification – the water was a symptom of the problem, not the cause.
The myth of timesaving:Some manages talk constantly of saving time – often in ways, which are unwise and ultimately cost more time. Cutting an important conversation short in the interests of meeting another deadline may leave a problem unresolved only to erupt in a later crisis. Hastening a decision without the critical facts has often returned to plague the hasty decision-maker. Initiating action prematurely on a project without thorough analysis may later be revealed as the cause for taking the least desirable path, thus wasting much time, effort & money in the end.
The myth of time shortage:No one has enough time yet everyone has all there is. Time is not the problem, but rather how we utilize the time we have. Time shortage is a result of mismanagement as attempting too much in too little time, inability to say “No” to outside distractions, setting or unrealistic time estimates, and confusing priorities.
The myth that time flies:For most, time flies. Time is present one moment, gone the next, and few know where or how. We accuse it of running out, of flying, of being an enemy, of confronting us with deadlines every time we check our watch. Yet well organized people count it as a friend. We never have enough. Others always do. We say time passes. Time stays. It is ever present. Time, one of the few constants in the universe, moves at a fixed rate. For each of us it passes at the same speed. To say that time flies is to say that we are managing things in such a way that it seems to fly. Through inadequate planning & other managerial mistakes, we are leaving ourselves with too much to do in too little time.
The myth that time is against us:The manager who is never caught up, who is busy fighting fires and missing deadlines, will always view time as an enemy. As in most things, however, we are our own worst enemy. Time is on our side the moment we organize it.
- Laws of time management
The three Murphy’s Laws often cited and which have great relevance to time management are :
nothing is as simple as it seems;
everything takes longer than you think;
if anything can go wrong, it will.
Also cited, though less frequently, are two supposed corollaries of Laws of Murphy, a sixth-century Irish King
there is too much month left at the end of my money; and
there is too much work left at the end of my time.
Parkinson’s Law:that work expands to fill the time available, certainly deserves careful consideration for inclusion in the list. He noted that while the number of persons employed in the admiralty understandably increased during wartime, the numbers inexplicably continued to increase in peacetime as well. This steady increase occurred despite cutbacks in both military requirements and military bases.
III. Time log and allocation
Once we realized the importance of time and the need for managing it properly, the first thing we need to do is to look into how our time is being spent. Towards this, the first step is to keep a time log.
Every manager must take a time log
Earlier studies have shown that the time of a manager simply doesn’t go where he thinks it does. Peter Drucker, a strong advocate of the time log, recommends that one should first discover where it is going rather than planning first how one wishes to spend his time. Time logs are used by effective executives in a variety of ways. One may use time log to check one’s tendency to neglect priorities. Only one of the directors managed to work more than 20 minutes at a time on one project. Eddie Carlson follows the same practice in order to gain the benefit of uninterrupted time. Drucker observes that the time log will show an executive another surprising fact – the small fraction of his day that is free or uncommitted. Objective evaluation of one’s own performance is one of manager’s most difficult tasks and time log is an indispensable tool for this task.
Common pitfalls in keeping time logs:There are three common pitfalls in keeping time logs: (1) unrealistic or unchallenging goals; (2) trusting memory; (3) omitting detail.
Unrealistic time estimates are among the common time waster. Leaving the entries in the time log until a convenient time, or until the end of the day, is simply not realistic. Making entries in general terms weakens the effectiveness of the time log. In other words omitting detail is just as damaging to the intended purposes of the time log as trusting memory or setting unrealistic or unchallenging goals. To avoid these critical details is to lose one of the great benefits, which the detailed time log can provide. The duration of a time log poses a special problem. Birger Wist, the Norwegian president elected to take his log for two months. For the general purposes sought in most situations the one-week time log should suffice. It is not surprising, of course, those managers resist the time log.
Making the most of your time log
Setting daily goals : Space should be provided at the tope of the time log for daily goals.
Use for both scheduling deadlines and recording : The most effective executives see the time log as beneficial not only for recording where their time has gone, but for planning in advance how they wanted it to go.
Detail in recording : In how much detail should the time log be kept ? Some managers instinctively and wisely take the time log as a challenge and record nearly every significant activity that occurs during the day. This kind of time log is immediately evidenced by some typical entries, such as the precise time that an activity started and the precise time it ended. If you keep your log in greater detail, you would have much more meaningful conclusions.
Analyzing each action at the time : The best time is immediately. With the use of simple code letters, which most managers utilize anyway, these entries need take very little time overall.
Analyzing your time log:Once we have got a record of where the time is going, the next step is analyzing how the time is being spent to draw meaningful conclusions from the data. Towards this end, we have to look into the following things to determine whether the time is being spent purposefully or not.
Did settings daily goes and deadlines improve your effectiveness?
What time did you start on your No.1 goal?
To what extent did you achieve each objective?
What was your longest period of totally uninterrupted time excluding meetings and lunch?
Who / What as your most frequent interrupter?
List all interruptions in order of importance. List for most time consuming activities which could have been handled by others or not done at all.
Did to tend to record ‘activities ‘ or ‘result’?
Allocating time to major categories
Overall analysis : One of the astonishing things about time logs is the frequency with which a manager will keep his log but fail to follow through with an overall analysis.
Planning : After the analysis has been completed, it is time for the manager to ask himself if this is the way he wishes his time to go. The third column in the time log requires an analysis of each of the major actions taken. A review of these conclusions will show the manager how he can improve his time utilization. The time spent reading and deciding who should have handled a matter is an example of wasted time when a competent secretary could have handled it.
- Time wasters
There are several time wasters quoted from time to time in the literature and observed in daily life. They however vary with the kind of profession pursued. The following are some of them:
- Unclear objectives
- Management by crisis
- Poor information
- Junk mail
- Postponed decisions
- Poor filing system
- Lack of information
- Lack of concentration
- Lack of feedback
- Lack of managerial tools
- Routine work
- Peer demand on time
- Too much reading
- Tea Breaks
- Interruptions, Telephone
- Lack of clerical staff
- No time planning
- Poor physical fitness
- Meetings scheduled/ unsche-duled, Necessary/unnecessary
- Red tape
- Beautiful Secretary
- Attempting too much at once
- Lack of competent personnel
- Talking too much
- Lack of delegation
- Inconsistent actions
- Lack of Self-discipline
- Cannot say ‘no’
- Low morale
- Training new staff
- Lack of priorities
- Responsibility without authority
There are many other time wasters cited and the list runs close to 200 in number. Nevertheless the following 15 are recognized as the most Common Time Wasters.
- Telephone Interruptions
- Drop-in visitors
- Crisis Management
- Lack Objectives, Priorities, Daily Plan
- Cluttered Desk/Personal Disorganization
- Ineffective Delegation
- Attempting Too Much at Once
- Lack of/Unclear Communication
- Inadequate, Inaccurate, Delayed Information
- Indecision and Procrastination
- Confused Responsibility and Authority
- Inability to say ‘No’
- Leaving Tasks Unfinished
- Lack of Self-Discipline
- Time waster analysis
After identifying the common time wasters it is only logical for us to look into each for the causes and solutions thereby.
Causes : No plan of handling; enjoy socializing; desire to keep informed / involved; lack of delegation / over depending staff; fear of offending; inability to terminate conversations; and lack of / improper assistance.
Solutions : Plan to screen, delegate and consolidate; resist from socialising; get information regarding essentials; delegate more and refuse to make decisions of the staff by encouraging initiative; do not be over sensitive; learn & practice tec-hniques to terminate conversation; demonstrate and obtain necessary assistance.
Drop in visitors
Causes : Enjoy socializing / being available; desire to be informed / involved; fear of offending; ineffective delegation; open-door policy; ineffective screening.
Solutions : Stick to priorities and distinguish between business and socializing; recognize the danger of involvement in detail; do not be over sensitive; make only decisions which subordinates cannot and do nothing you can delegate; modify open – door by closing it regularly for concentration; and train secretary to screen visitors without offending.
Causes : Lack of / Wondering from agenda; too many / too few meetings; not starting on time / holding people beyond; failure to end on time; allowing interruptions; failure to follow-up.
Solutions : Have written or verbal agenda; assess need for meetings and schedule accordingly; start on time; end on time and do not retain people when they are no longer needed; do not allow interruptions; and ensure effective follow-up.
Causes : Lack of Plan and failure to anticipate; over reacting; procrastination, switching of priorities; and reluctance of subordinates to report bad news.
Solutions : Categorize crisis and causes, and expect the unexpected, develop plans for the contingencies; limit your responsibility by ignoring problems which may be ignored, delegate those which other can handle and handle those which you alone can; recognize the danger of postponing which may lead to deadlines and impaired judgement under stress; assess the damage done by switching priorities and suggest for reduction of switches; encourage people to learn from mistakes and emphasize the need for reporting bad news to avoid crisis.
Lack of objectives, priorities and daily plan
Causes : Unaware of the importance; lack of self-discipline; fear of commitment; difficult to assign priorities to tasks; and assumption that emergencies will spoil plan anyway.
Solutions : Recognize the importance of this time waster; impose deadlines, monitor the progress and evaluate the results; recognize that objectives mean commitment and knowing that you have succeeded; determine where efforts should be concentrated by a prioritization; recognize that emergencies may disrupt that day but the damages can be minimized after the day is planned and most vital tasks can be completed before the emergency.
Clutterd desk / personal disorganization
Causes : Lack of system; leaving tasks unfinished; procrastination / indecision; lack of objectives, priorities and daily plan; ineffective secretary.
Solutions : Have a plan sheet for recording things you wish to remember; practice task completion, resist interruptions, finish the task once for all; tackle tough or highest priorities tasks imposing deadlines; plan better without switching priorities, plan your work, work your plan; train and authorize secretary to keep your desk clear and make the secretary responsible for information retrieval.
Causes : Insecurity – fear of failure; lack of confidence in staff; delegating responsibilities without authority; overcontrol; under staffed / over worked subordinates; upward delegation.
Solutions : Accept risk as inherent, allow mistakes, and learn from them; train, develop and trust; always delegate authority with responsibility; emphasize goal, measure results, not activity and resist from overcontrol; limit expectations and reduce expected responsibilities; refuse to make decisions for subordinates.
Attempting too much at once
Causes : Unrealistic time estimates; responding to the urgent; desire to impress boss; understaffed; over demanding job / boss.
Solutions : Analyze characteristic under-estimate and add appropriate cushion; differentiate urgent from important; take a look at what boss really wants …… to be impressed in the short run or to succeed in the long run; show how more help is economically justified; say no at appropriate time and look for another job if the situation is hopeless.
Lack of or unclear communication
Causes : Poor time / articulation; insufficient / over communication; lack of policies and procedures to ensure effective communication; differing meanings of words / value systems; lack of feedback.
Solutions : Select appropriate time, check and improve articulation; provide needy information, be brief and do not repeat; develop policies and procedures; recognize that words mean different things to different people and choose them well, recognize that experience, training and environment created different backgrounds for interpretations; get feedback and take corrective action.
Inadequate / inaccurate / delayed information
Causes : Lack of system; providing information not needed / requested; failure to assess priorities or urgency of requested information; failure to anticipate delay in obtaining information.
Solutions : Determine the nature of information needed for planning, decision making, ensure its availability, reliability and timeliness; stick to essentials and avoid unnecessary information; assess and allocate time & standardize priority of information classifications; expect delay, plan accordingly-“unless I hear” memo.
Indecision and procrastination
Causes : Lack of self-imposed deadlines; lack of monitoring of progress; unrealistic time estimates; habit; doing what you like / postponing the difficulty.
Solutions : Set deadlines on everything; have supporting staff to check the progress against deadlines; allow more time say 20%; development better habits; do the unpleasant / difficult first.
Confused responsibility and authority
Causes : Lack of job description; capturing authority by others / responsibility without authority; ambiguous communication; unwilling subordinates to accept responsibility;
Solutions : Get the job description approved by the boss; clarify the authority and insist to match with responsibility; insist on clarity of communication; train and reward subordinates after selecting with care;
Inability to say ‘no’
Causes : Desire to help others and win approval; fear of offending; calls sense of application / sympathy and self-sacrifice; timid approach; fear of retaliation; loosing sight of priorities/objectives; autocratic boss and tradition of organisation.
Solutions : Do not over extend help which may result in loss instead of gain; learn to say ‘no’ without offending, limit the expectations by discussion with concerned and be more realistic; improve approach by saying ‘no’ first before hopes are raised; recognize shaky relationship, improve to reduce the fear; be committed to priorities by setting your own; balance gains against losses while following boss or traditions.
Leaving tasks unfinished
Causes : Responding to the urgent; clutterdesk; lack of determination to complete task; accepting interruptions; postponing the unpleasant; shifting priorities; incomplete information.
Solutions : Recognize that urgent matters may not be important and do not overact; get organized for effective control; impose deadlines for better determ-ination; train subordinates to screen interruptions; desist from postponing tasks; keep priorities current; ensure complete information before starting the task.
Lack of self – discipline
Causes : Lack of standards / objectives / priorities; doing what we like; not using available techniques and tools; unrealistic time estimates; lack of interest; clutterdesk; leaving tasks unfinished; carelessness; bad habits; undisciplined boss / organisation; switching priorities.
Solutions : Set objectives / standards / priorities straight; do first things first; use available tools and techniques; improve the estimates of time; develop interest by reexamining the attitude towards job; be systematic and organised; get jobs done the fist time; be careful; develop better habits by announcing to discourage yourself from back sliding; select boss / organisation with self-discipline; avoid switching priorities.
An overview of analysis of the time wasters leads us to identify some of the most common causes which are to be tackled in order to effectively manage the time. These are :
Unaware of seriousness / importance of a particular time waster
Lack of system / planning
Fear of offending others in sticking to the plan / priorities / standards
Lack of / ineffective delegation
Lack of or confused priorities
Mismatch between responsibility and authority
Lack of sense of time / unrealistic time estimates
Ineffective communication / incomplete information
- Measuring impact of timewasters on managerial effectiveness
The criteria as shown below may be applied in order to determine the impact of a timewaster on managerial effectiveness.
Number of calls taken unnecessarily.
Number of minutes spent beyond reasonable requirements.
Number of calls placed unnecessarily.
Extent to which objectives were achieved.
No. of visitors who should not have been received.
No. of minutes spent beyond reasonable expectations.
Extent to which objectives were achieved.
- TIME MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES
The following are the Principles for managing the time efficiently:
No one has enough time, yet everyone has all there is. This is the great “paradox of time.” It is the one resource, which is distributed equally to all.
The manager’s time is rarely spent as he thinks it is. One thinks one’s time is going where it should be going rather than where it is actually going.
Time Analysis Need
A daily log of activities for at least one week, taken in 15 min. increments, is essential as a basis for time analysis. It should be repeated at least semi-annually to avoid reverting to poor time management practices.
Anticipatory action is generally more effective than remedial action. Avoid surprise by expecting the unexpected and planning for it.
Majority of problems arise from action without thought. An hour spent in planning saves 3 to 4 in execution, and gives better results. By failing to plan you only plan to fail
Daily planning in consonance with objectives and events, is essential to effective utilization of time.
effective results are achieved through purposeful pursuit of objectives than by chance. The concept of MBO is based on this proven principle.
Time should be budgeted to tasks as per priority to avoid tendency to spend time in amounts inversely related to the importance of their tasks. (Parkinson’s Second Law).
Imposing deadlines and exercising self-discipline in adhering to them aids managers in over-coming indecision, vacillation and procrastination.
In most areas of organized human endeavor, a critical few efforts (~ 20%) usually produce the great bulk of the results (~ 80%). Effective Managers concentrate their efforts on the “critical few” events that will produce the major results. (See No.31).
Effectiveness versus efficiency
Effort, however efficient, will tend to be ineffective if performed on the wrong tasks, at the wrong time, or without the intended consequences. Efficiency means doing the job right. Effectiveness means doing the right job right. Effective action produces maximum results with minimum resources, including time.
Activity versus results
Managers tend to lose sight of objectives/results and to concentrate their efforts on activity. Keeping busy gradually becomes their objective. Instead of running their jobs they tend to be run by them. They confuse motion with accomplishment, activity with results.
Results tend to be optimized when the greatest benefits are achieved with minimum efforts.
Unrealistic time estimates
Managers tend to take an optimistic view of the time needed for completion of a task. They also tend to hope that others will be able to complete their tasks sooner than is likely. Hence, Murphy’s Second Law.
Probability of occurrence
The probability that an intended event will occur increase directly with the systematic application of effort toward its realization.
Tyranny of the urgent
Managers live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The urgent tasks call for instant action and drive out the important. Managers thus tyrannized by the urgent, respond to the endless pressures of the moment, neglecting the long-term consequences of more important but less demanding tasks left undone.
Crisis management / over response
Managers tend to over-respond to problems resulting in undue anxiety, im-paired judgement, hasty decisions, and wasted time & effort.
Selective neglect / limited response
Response to problems and demands should be realistic and limited to the needs. By selectively ignoring those problems which tend to resolve themselves, much time and effort can be saved for more useful pursuits. (the “principle of calculated neglect”.)
Flexibility in scheduling personal time is necessary to accommodate to forces beyond one’s control. Time should not be over or underscheduled.
Failure to distinguish symptoms from causes tends to result in wasted effort directed toward apparent rather than real problems.
Failure to generate viable alternative solutions limits the prospect of selecting the most effective course of action.
The arrival of the point of decision causes many managers, without apparent reason, to hesitate, vacillate or refuse to decide. Indecision should be viewed as a decision not to decide.
Deferring, or putting off decisions/ actions can become a habit which loses time, causes lost opportunities, increases pressure of deadlines and generates crises.
Completed staff work
Managers should delegate responsibility and authority to do a “whole work”. This saves time required to complete the task and frees them for more important work. It also enhances the satisfaction of their team and the overall effectiveness of the oranization.
Delegation / decision level
Authority for decision making should be delegated to the lowest possible level consistent with adequate judgement and available facts.
Managers tend to encourage upward (reverse) delegation. They may do this by unconsciously being too ready with answers or by instructing subordinates to “do nothing without checking with me.” Which is wrong.
Routine / detail
Routine tasks of low value to overall objectives should be minimized or delegated to the extent possible. Managers should divorce themselves from unnecessary detail & neglect all but essential information (See No.30).
Similar tasks be grouped within divisions of the workday to eliminate repetitive actions and minimize interruptions, such as taking and returning phone calls. This will economize the resources including the time and effort.
Feedback on relative performance against goals at intervals is essential to ensure progress according to plan. Progress reports should identify deviations of actual from planned performance in time to take corrective action.
Only significant deviations of actual results from planned performance should be reported to the executive to conserve his time and abilities. Related to the “management – by- exception” concept is the “need not to know” concept of excluding all but essential facts.
Controls over activities should be designed to minimize no., impact and duration of interruptions.
Managers must plan for periods of uninterrupted concentration. The “quiet hour,” effective secretarial screening of calls and visitors, and a hideaway are the most effective techniques for this. The mistaken notion that manages should “always be accessible” has led to such abuses as the ever-open door which acts as a continuing invitation to passerby and corridor-wanderers to drop in.
Keeping visible what you intend to do increases the certainty of achieving your objectives. You can’t do what you can’t remember. This principle of visible control is inherent in such time management tools as the Plan Sheet of Economics Laboratory, Daytimer pocket and desk calendars etc.
Simple, concise, unambiguous language ensures understanding and saves time.
Economy of words and actions conserves time while promoting clarity and understanding.
Managers tend to be victims of their own habit patterns besides acquiring practices of the organizations in which they manage. Breaking ingrained habit patterns is very difficult and requires continuing exercise of self-discipline.
(Parkinson’s Law). Work tends to expand to fill the time available.
Implementation and follow-up
time planning and follow-up is essential on a daily basis for effective time management.
Managers should seek the courage to change those things which can be changed… the willingness to accept those which can’t … and the wisdom to know the difference.
Irreplaceable and irretrievable, time is the most critical of all resources. The ability to organize and utilize time effectively is the managerial imperative, for without it nothing else can be managed.
- Characteristics and strategies of effective time managers
Application of time management principles varies with each individual to some degree – according to his personality, those of his team, and the circumstances of his situation. The following are some useful cases:
Dr Charles D. Flory, partner, Rohrer, Hibler and Replogle with over 700 clients including many of the largest companies in the world, which enjoyed an unparelleled reputation among psychological firms to industry summarizes the characteristics of the effective managers in his experience. Dr.Flory edited their well-known ‘Manager for Tomorrow’ and ‘Managing Through Insight’. His experience, combined with his rare insight, has given Dr.Flory a unique perspective of what makes top managers effective.
Flory observes that since every executive has all the time there is, it is the degree to which he organizes and utilizes this time, which determines his fitness to ask others to work under him. “Anyone who can’t organize himself is unsuited for major managerial responsibility”, says Flory. According to him common characteristics observed in the most effective top managers are :
The ability to do it now
At least 80% of the things coming over the desk of an executive can be handled immediately. The effective executive disposes of it if it is not useful, delegates it if appropriate, and does it himself if necessary.
The ability to delegate to the most qualified person
This is not easy for the average executive who wants to do what he can do well. Many managers are most comfortable doing than managing. The effective executives sees that he has qualified people; selects the appropriate ones for a given responsibility; delegates with clarity to ensure understanding of the assignment; and follows up with regular progress reports to ensure that the intended results are achieved.
Willingness to take time to support, encourage and evidence concern for his subordinates
The ability to sift out critical issues for decision. The effective executive avoids being trapped in trivia. He recognizes that the perfectionist tendency will draw the unwary manager into unnecessary detail. He avoids detail by leaving routine tasks and operating decisions to others. The cluttered desk is a clue to the executive who allows himself to get drawn into unnecessary detail. The key to solving this is the ability to organize and to decide. Indecision is probably the biggest thief of time.
Refusal to waste time on the “impossible.”
Admits defeat and moves ahead; is forward-oriented; wastes no time regretting or rationalizing.
Projects himself into the future. Gains quick closure.
Possesses a real sense of timing – a feel for the situation.
Possesses a real sense of time passing. Ability to estimate time requirements realistically.
According to E.B. Osborn, Chairman of the Board, and Philip T. Perkins, Vice-President of Marketing, Consumer Division Economics Laboratory, St.Paul, Minnesota Who received honored Company Award from the Harvard Business School Club of Minnesota for profitability, efficiency in management, response to unusual challenges, achievement of long-range objectives, community responsibility and meeting the appropriate needs of the consumer……, guidelines for managing the executive’s day-to-day operation, include the following :
- He organizes and delegates :
Organizes his own day, with “first things first.”
Prearranges conferences with adequate notice to the person involved.
Knows the importance of doing one thing at a time, of “clustering” related subjects.
Does not allow his desk or his memory to become cluttered.
Uses his file system to store facts and to jog memory; flags important facts for quick recall.
Assigns work to others.
- He knows his own problems and weaknesses, and those of others.
Plans for interruption, phone calls, etc.
Anticipates interruptions, wherever possible, at a time convenient to him, thus conserving more valuable time later.
- He gets an airplane view of his job through use of a Plan Sheet, which :
Unclutters his desk.
Unclutters his mind.
Facilitates review of things accomplished and remaining to be done.
Ensures that the big things are cleaned up first and the little things not forgotten.