Article: Slowdown tales: You have too much time!


Slowdown tales: You have too much time!

The global economic slowdown has impacted all irrespective of the industry and level. It is now imperative that everyone creates and adds value consistently

Organisations are now more than ever sensitised to the fact that if time is deployed optimally it can help leverage all other resources


2008-09… just another year? …. not really… actually for many of us our world as we knew it seems to have had a volte-face. Career paths as were charted last year seem to be a faraway reality for most and a mirage for some.

The global economic slowdown has impacted all irrespective of the industry and level. It is now imperative that everyonecreates and adds value consistently. What was hitherto expected from “star performers” is now the necessity; desirable performance levels have become essentialin order to avoid the proverbial pink slip and it seems that time is running out on us….

However, even in this hour of uncertainty and despite organizations presumably having the “license to fire” – some people do not have to lose any sleep. Time is not running out on them, in fact time seems to unfairly favor them. They seem to have the time to consistently create spectacular results and even have a semblance of work life balance …Who are these people?

These are people, who have been able to maintain high productivity consistently. The bottom line - productivity is the panacea for all evil… even the slowdown.

How do we ensure high levels of productivity, especially in the context of the environmental lassitude? Organizations and management gurus over time have testified that high productivity has been achieved when organisations through their people have utilized the resource of time in alignment with their priorities and goals.

To embark on this journey, the starting point is to acknowledge that we have enough (and in some cases too much!) time to achieve what we want in life – professional and personal. It is when we have been busy bemoaning the lack of time that we have achieved the least.

In fact, organizations are now more than ever sensitized to the fact that if the resource of time is deployed optimally it can help leverage all other resources. A large Indian conglomerate recently decided that for it to establish the desired productivity culture, it is imperative for its leadership team to leverage time and enhance its productivity. A top management workshop was scheduled to initiate this. On the day of the program, the workshop started late because only the head of the group was on time. However, from a beginning that defied the very purpose of the workshop to the end of the day, the leadership team acknowledged that the change had to commence from them, that they had to imbibe it and the lead from the front.

The second step in the journey is to establish the high priority goals and then plan and spend time in alignment with those goals. It is this focus on KEY AREAS that enables achievement. The Achilles heel for most people and organizations is the lack of focus on the “eye of the fish”. Too much time (research indicates almost 80%) is spent on non-value adding activities. Peter Drucker says that 20% of our time can get us 80% of our results. However, this is possible only when we focus on the eye of the fish – our key area.

Once the strategic intent and the will to effectively use time are in place then the tactical best practices can be brought into play to ensure that intent is converted to action and results. These help insulate us from the vagaries of our dynamic environment – interruptions, boss, colleagues, and meetings, changing needs……

The idea is to move away from laundry “To Do lists”, which only tell us what has to be done at an activity level with no linkage to goals.

The simple and timeless “time mantra” is that even though the changing environment may mean change in goals and priorities – the secret to achieve those goals lies in how each of us use our time in alignment of those goals. That alone will set us apart and save us from mediocrity.

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Topics: Leadership, C-Suite

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