Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What Leaders Need to Know and Won't Be Told In a Typical Time Management Seminar

Time management -- it is one of the most popular topics in any professional development offering.  It’s been around for years. Franklin Covey put it on the map, made it mainstream and it’s one of the most popular professional development key word searches on Google.

In general, people are aware of it, think they should be doing it, and believe it is important.  And yet I must say, when you take a traditional time management seminar or training there are critical issues that dramatically impact it that won’t be mentioned.

As a leader or manager, why should you care? Those critical issues directly impact your company’s bottom line.

I’ve traveled across North America over the past 16 years teaching time management, getting organized, and reducing stress seminars. I teach leadership seminars and coach corporate managers and small business owners and from those experiences (and my own) have gleaned insights that are fundamental to effective time management and its connection to company profits.

To follow are a few of those insights not typically heard and I’ll suggest that without being aware of them, time management training, as we know it – will be minimally effective.  In essence you won’t really be getting what you’re paying for.

What you won’t hear in a typical time management seminar:

1. Trouble employees waste time. I don’t mean to sound heartless. Yet it’s very important that those who lead understand that more time, energy, and focus is taken up with trouble employees than with those who are productive.

A study released by the Future Foundation several years ago entitled: The Hidden Costs of Poor People Management (worth a read for sure) shared some interesting findings: U.S. managers waste an average of 34 days per year dealing with underperformance. Senior executives claim they spend seven weeks a year -- or over an hour per day -- managing badly performing employees.

Why?…well that leads to #2.

2. The lack of understanding of behavior and effective performance management wastes time. One of the major issues that managers have (as I have met thousands across the country) is that they do not know how to manage behavior – which in essence is managing people.

Couple that with the lack of company process and strategy to effectively and quickly coach folks to improve – or clearly decide it’s time for them to go and that adds up to a lot of wasted time.

Bottom line…there is a lot of time spent with employees who should be let go a lot sooner!

This situation leads to #3.

3. A lack of knowledge wastes time. There is more opportunity to train employees and managers than ever before and opportunities I might add that will not break the bank and yet, the lack of training in general for employees and particularly for managers is an epidemic and completely unnecessary.

A very doable and affordable time management strategy is to have embedded in every business growth strategy an employee and management growth strategy. I’ve seen it – as employees grow in skills and capabilities, a business grows. In our talent management practice we suggest 5 core competencies for individual employees. We suggest including them in your on-boarding and each initial performance plan. Click here to learn more

4. Managers unskilled in managing time waste the time of their staff and negatively impacts your profits.  Ok, this is self explanatory- time management training should be a fundamental offering at every company just like employee orientation.

And for the record, I want to speak out for the many workers of America (from all 50 states I might add) who’ve told me how unorganized and time inefficient some of their managers are and the incredible amount of unnecessary stress that creates.

Alrighty, I could share more, but those are compelling enough for sure.

So, consider these questions: 

  1. Is time management and time management training a part of your business execution and profit strategy? 
  2. Do you believe that the skill of managing time is fundamental to business success and a company’s bottom line?  
  3. How does your company operations reflect success in the areas mentioned above…or not?

I’ll leave you with this final thought and question: If your business could have 3 extra weeks of time for just 1 employee how would you re-direct that time to impact profits? Where can you get 3 weeks or more?

Here’s how:
After I present the managing interruption tips in my seminar, I pose this question, “How much time do you think you could recapture in a day from that one tip?”  I get a myriad of answers ranging from several hours to 15 – 20 minutes.
I then ask them to calculate the answer using numbers on the low side, so we usually use 30 minutes.  Here’s how it looks:
1 Week: 30 mins. a day recaptured x 5 days = 150 mins. (2.5 hrs.)
1 Month: 150 mins. x 4 weeks = 600 mins. (10 hrs)
1 Quarter: 10 hrs. in a month x 3 mths. = 30 hrs (3.75 days assuming 8 hrs in an average work day).
1 Year: 30 hrs x 4 quarters = 120 hrs. (15 days divided by 5 work days = 3 weeks!
Think about it for a moment - taking back 3 weeks of time for just 1 employee. Now, calculate that for an entire team. How could that impact a company’s bottom line? Conclusion?...time can be translated into profits.

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