A strategic way to boost your business leadership results, along with its profits, productivity and growth is through effective time management practices. Because time, as it is in any profession, is a critical resource in making business leadership actions profitable, innovative and transformative.
Before we continue, you need to appreciate this important fact about business leadership – whether we’re talking about market, innovative, strategic, situational, transformational, project or organizational leadership – leadership in any form is always a social activity.
So with that understanding, we can look at business leadership in three generic ways: as market leadership, organizational leadership and human capital leadership.
In business organizations, entrepreneurs may choose to invest their time in human capital related leadership activities, that is in leading, coaching or soliciting and recruiting the support of their associates and trading partners.
Entrepreneurial leaders also have opportunities to use their time to contribute to the quality, quantity or significance of life for their customers and clients. I call these actions a form of market leadership.
Business leadership tasks demand that leaders analyze, plan and re-order their budgets, cash flows, operational systems or their schedules, where their sole objective is to manage their time as profitably, effectively and creatively as possible. We can call these activities organizational leadership.
A fact-of-life for those professionals charged with business leadership responsibilities – which includes the executives, entrepreneurs and managers – they will usually encounter the most disruptions, interruptions or other forms of distractions to their scheduled activities. Unfortunately in the face of that reality, these business leadership personnel tend to immediately discount, ignore or underestimate the potential value in those unanticipated events.
If you ever hope to become an effective leader you should never focus your attention on the management of accomplishing tasks against a daily allotment of your time, you should however concentrate your energies on the management or maximizing the allocations of your significance.
We know that being effective means doing the right things. We also know that being efficient is doing things the right way. Are you doing the “right things” or are you doing things “the right way”?
The problem with the focus of most time management strategies is this, we are told to be efficient in our use of time, that is, we’re taught that the right way of doing time management is to plot whichever tasks we feel or believe we need to accomplish in a certain amount of time segments.
And in the case of business leadership, the right things for your usage of time must be based upon your contributions of quality, quantity or the value of your significance.
In a word, your contributions have to be acts that you take for the purpose of being of benefit to all the actors, artifacts or artifices, attributes and audiences engaged in your social activity. On the other hand, your significance must add a form of excellence, emphasis, essence, elevation, eminence, effectiveness, efficacy, efficiency, execution, elucidation, explanation, exposition, expression or esteem to your actions.
“Most executives, many scientists, and almost all business school graduates believe that if you analyze data, this will give you new ideas. Unfortunately, this belief is totally wrong. The mind can only see what it is prepared to see.” – Edward de Bono, creativity expert
I advise my business leadership clients to keep strategic questions in mind whenever they engage in any activity. I call these mini-evaluations strategic because being strategic means being decisive, deliberate and dexterous – meaning leaders who wish to be strategic thinkers or questioners have to think through, think about and think with their actions, don’t they?
The purpose of those questions isn’t to generate answers consisting of one-word or a single idea. And leaders shouldn’t use these questions to judge a moment-in-time as being either significant or worthless. Rather than making those types of value judgments, these questions should ensure you have competent, strategic responses prepared, organized and ready to go in advance, so that you can optimize, leverage or otherwise make the best use of those planned-for or unplanned-for periods of time.
Here is one set of example questions you could ask to help you make more effective use of your time, regardless of any interruption, or unexpected or distracting event.
“Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time.” – Pablo Picasso, artist
(Can I Make This) Quality Time?
- Is it pure? [resulting in no distractions, disruptions, delays from your goals or mission]
- Is it sweet? [warm, refreshing and enjoyable experience or environment or forum or venue]
- Is it absolute? [secure, or obligated to my relationship, or persuasive or memorable]
“We need to internalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent.”
– USA President Barack Obama
(Can This Moment Become) Quantity Time?
- Is it substantial? [is there substance, meaning or fulfillment in this use of my time?]
- Is it concrete? [producing a specific, tangible, measurable, realistic, attainable result from the use of my time]
- Is it clear? [does it help me be or become more focused, intentional, results-driven, practical]
Or you could use dimensionally-oriented questions to determine, implement and supervise your applications of business leadership significance. As we mentioned earlier, time can be measured against a location – that is, time and a location in space are always related – so we say, “you are always somewhere at some specific point of time!”
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl, psychologist
In the social expanse known as “space-time”, you’ll discover how dimensional constructions usually hold true. Social dimensions include the scope, importance, direction, magnitude, definition, quantity, aspect, extent, element, a position, attribute, property or proportion of any social activity.
Dimensional characteristics are important because they provide insights into the breadth, depth, thickness and heights of your utilization of time – are your capital assets being transformed into something tangibly significant, are your human players moving together in harmony, are the reasons for pursuing this action realizing the desired results?
Therefore, you will need to ask the following types of questions to generate the right types of dimensionally important answers and thus understand how well or how effectively you are using your time for performing your business or organizational leadership tasks:
- Where-When: describes a physically obvious, tangible reality of an event without trying to explain any aspect of human, social or physical capital involvement or influences;
Who-What: defines and describes the moving parts, functional attributes and players of human exchanges, transactions, interactions or reactions
Why-How: endeavors to provide causes or reasons for human actions and seeks to identify the ways and means employed to satisfy or attain the desires for taking those actions
We can easily describe the process of how and when to take action to use the extant sources and depth of information, which are what you have, to help you become what you desire, to unleash the future envisioned by what your dreams have awakened within you, and prosecute your strategy for business leadership to the ultimate extent of your resources, expertise and abilities.
“Dream and give yourself permission to envision a You that you choose to be.” – Joy Page, actress
However, in essence, we must look at each and every one of our competitive, operational and developmental efforts as activities taking place within, and, as actions existing at points along, positions within or locations of “space-time” – that is, using these reference placements to indicate, investigate or interrogate the:
- Manifold – Which diverse, variety and many features of my actions…?
Affect or Add-to the Dimensionality – the ins and outs, ups and downs, across and around, over and under, back and forth, breadth and length, brokenness and wholeness, heights and depths – of our efforts…?
Time-frame – When will or When must the intervals, periods, moments, phases, ages, eons, ticks occur and…?
Relativistic – How or How much does it relate to our past, present or future perspectives…?
Who benefits or is impacted by the Attractions, Interactions, Transactions or Reactions of our informed actions – and Why will they be…?
Thus in the realm of social phenomena, we define “space-time” as the distinctive features and structural dimensions which identify the cognitive, cultural or emotive segments of perspectives and interactions involved when we act, acted or will take action.
“But the best teams I’ve encountered have one important thing in common: their team structure and processes cover a full range of distinct competencies necessary for success.” – Jesse James Garrett, Infopreneur, information architect
Therefore, business leadership means incorporating the “physics” of socially-oriented space-time into the creation and application of a much more effective time management program to generate profitable results and strategic innovative opportunities while it strengthens your organizational leadership development programs and performance improvement efforts.
Copyright 2010, Mustard Seed Investments Inc., All rights reserved worldwide.
by Bill Thomas