Managing Organisational Time

Time is an often little managed, but scare resource in an organisation. As the old adage goes, “time is money” and never has this been more true than in today’s world, where organisations and their people are facing an hourly onslaught of emails, instant messaging, phone calls and video conferences. Time spent on these interactions limits the amount of available time with customers and slows down an organisation, with financial performance suffering as a result.

On average, 15% of an organisation’s collective time is spent in meetings.

Time should be treated as a scare resource, and like any scare resource, it should be invested carefully. Organisations who budget their time as carefully as their capital have lowered their overhead expenses and liberated countless hours of previously unproductive time for its employees.
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How organisational time is squandered:

Email – some executives receive 200 emails a day – 30,000 per year

Meeting time – senior executives devote more than 2 days a week on average attending meetings; 15% of an organisations collective time is spent in meetings.

Dysfunctional meeting behaviour emailing within meetings and double booking meetings knowingly and later deciding which to attend.

Weekly department meetings which are attended by all members of that department are often time consuming and costly with an hourly meeting, attended by eight members of staff representing one full day’s work. A one hour meeting beginning five minutes late represents 8% wastage in terms of time.

 

Six Practices for Managing Organisational Time:

  1. Make the agenda clear and selective – separate the urgent from the important
  2. Create a zero-based time budget – assess the efficiency and effectiveness of your company’s regular meetings and eliminate unnecessary ones and shorten those that are too long
  3. Clearly delegate authority for time investments – ensure the correct person is requesting the meetings and that there is just cause for the meeting.
  4. Require business cases for all new projects – to ensure that they are viable and worthwhile
  5. Establish organisation-wide time discipline – have agendas with clear objectives, prepare in advance by distributing all materials before the meeting, thus reducing time devoted to information sharing during the meeting. Begin on time, an hour long meeting 5 minutes late costs the company 8% of its meeting time. Early ending if the meeting is going nowhere or if participants are unprepared
  6. Provide feedback to manage organisational load

 

Taken from Harvard Business Review May 2014

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Intro to Dr. Martyn Newman speaking – Seminar & Workshop in Radisson Blu Cork on 9th & 10th April

DavittCP and RocheMartin are very proud to bring one of the world’s leading experts on Emotional Intelligence & Leadership back to Ireland.

Martyn will be hosting a 1-hour breakfast seminar on Wednesday 9th April and 3-hour workshop on the morning of Thursday 10th April.

Both events are being held in the Radisson Blu hotel in Little Island on the outskirts of Cork City.

Places are limited for both events.

Please contact Jayne Lee for further details – jayne@davittcp.com or 01-66 888 91

Click below to see a short video of Martyn speaking at an EQ Summit in London.

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Expert – Dr Martyn Newman

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The Focused Leader – from Goleman’s article in HBR December 2013

Good leadership is a key component of organisational progression.

In Goleman’s study of leadership he states that “attention is at the basis of the most essential of leadership skills – emotional, organisational and strategic intelligence”. By accurately directing one’s attention to where it is necessary at a given time, a leader will have focus and thus be an asset to his organisation.

Focus is a key ability in a Leader, namely in three core areas:

  1. On oneself
  2. On others
  3. On the outside world

 

The ability to focus on the self:

Self awareness is essential in a leader.  Whilst listening to your gut is important, it is equally important to acknowledge your full range of emotions, including negative emotions such as anxiety when making an important decision.  A successful leader will be able to focus on his or her full range of emotions and thus make a more educated decision.

Good self control allows people to recover from setbacks and remain calm in a crisis. Those who have the ability to focus on their feelings and eliminate outside distraction should have good leadership potential.

 

The ability to focus on others:

Those who can focus on others tend to be natural leaders. The ‘empathy triad’ focuses on:

  • Cognitive empathy
  • Emotional empathy
  • Empathic concern

 

The first is the ability to understand something from another’s point of view, the second is to feel what another feels and the third is an ability to understand what the other person needs from you. The danger with empathic concern is getting the balance right, too much empathic concern can lead to empathic fatigue – when one ‘feels’ another’s pain too deeply and becomes overwhelmed by it.

The ability to build relationships and behave in a socially sensitive way is key in a leader. Those who are socially sensitive are better at building relationships, as they are able to take their cues from those around them and act appropriately. This aids in determining how to navigate within a network and influence the more influential individuals amongst that network.

 

The ability to focus on the outside world:

Focus on the wider world is also essential in a leader, those who have the ability to see the impact of their actions and decisions on the wider world and also focus on strategy – namely to make the most of your current position, whilst simultaneously looking for new advantages. Leaders also have the ability to see the same information as others but find more advantageous uses for it. This requires the ability to remove oneself from a situation, to allow your mind to ‘switch off’ and come back to the information with a different outlook.

 

When selecting a leader – the attributes listed above should be taken into careful consideration – this could be done by personality testing and even simply by observing employees in their current roles and interactions with others in the organisation. Leaders can increase self awareness through personality profiling and 360 analysis and can also develop increased focus by engaging in self development through coaching.

Helping in Organisations – from Harvard Business Review January – February 2014

A study conducted on the successful design company IDEO, found that a culture of helpfulness amongst the employees greatly improved the companies creativity.

“In the top performing companies it is a norm that colleagues support one another’s efforts to do the best work possible.” However, helpfulness is not something that always naturally occurs as some people may be too busy to help or more inclined to compete. Additionally, people may be reluctant to accept help for fear of looking incompetent or they may simply be distrustful of the helpers’ motives. Helping is not a rare skill but one which becomes common in the right environment.

Leadership conviction – when leaders become involved in the helping it gives it more weight. In IDEO status does not create a helping barrier. Leaders both ask for and give help – making it an acceptable norm.

Two sides of the helping coin – it’s necessary to get help from others in the company and would at times be irresponsible not to ask for it from those who are more knowledgeable about certain aspects of a project.

Slack in the organisation – perhaps somewhat counterintuitively; IDEO attributes its efficiency to allowing “slack” in the organisation. By not imposing strict schedules on its employees, they are given the opportunity to engage in helping by enabling them to engage with each other’s work in unplanned ways.

The study at IDEO found that trust and accessibility mattered much more to people when asking others for help than competence. Therefore, if someone is available and is trusted by the employee they are more likely to ask that person for help.

Omissions: IDEO managers take note in an interview when people repeatedly use the word “I” rather than “we” it implies that they are not willing to give credit for help received when involved in team projects.

Adam Grant, in his book “Give and Take” mentions a practise used by a company allowing employees to post “love notes” to people who had helped them which was found to be extremely rewarding to the helpers. This sort of reward gives rise to more altruistic helping than a financial reward which may lead to what the writer terms “competitive helping” where perhaps one is only helping to look good in front of superiors.

How to encourage helping in your organisation?

  • Make it clear that helpfulness is more beneficial than competition. Model this by asking for and giving help yourself.
  • Show appreciation for the help given by actually making use of the help.
  • Give feedback – encourage helpers by acknowledging their help and demonstrate appreciation for their time and effort.
  • Work towards high levels of trust amongst employees – trust is key when it comes to both giving and receiving help
  • Avoid blame or punishment when someone looks for help or gives it.
  • Don’t overload the helpers! Ensure that they still have time to do their own work whilst helping others.

 

Abraham Maslow’s Life History-Infographic

Abraham Maslow’s Life History-Infographic

The Importance of Teamwork in the Workplace

Teamwork is a common term used in the workplace. In fact, in many workplaces it is the only term that is used time and time again and for good reason. Whilst many of us may believe we are capable of working just as effectively on our own than within a team environment, in the majority of cases, it is true that an individual will perform better when nourished by a team.

Teamwork allows the individual to expand on their own skills by learning from others as well as gives them the opportunity to share their existing skills with other members of the team. The overall goal of teamwork is a positive work environment where people are working collaboratively to achieve a common goal – a group of people sharing and learning from one another.

Here are some of the major benefits of teamwork:

Achieve goals efficiently
Teamwork generally helps to achieve the common objective in less time. When a group of people with complementary skills mutually cooperate to accomplish goals, they will complete the work faster than otherwise would be possible.

Enhanced skills and development
Promoting teamwork in the workplace is often recommended as it allows for an enhancement of skills amongst team members. There are a number of people in a team and knowingly or unknowingly, team members will continue to learn from each other’s knowledge and thereby enhance their own knowledge, skills and capabilities.

teamwork

Creativity
Using teams most definitely allows more scope for creativity. Since there is more interaction going around than there would be if individuals were working on their own, creative ideas tend to evolve. Often bits of advice from colleagues may help a team member to come up with far more new ideas, than he/she would if they had to go about solving a problem all by themselves.

Enhanced communication
When people work in a team, they have to communicate with each other. As mentioned above, it is with the help of communication that ideas come into fruition. Not only can enhanced communication result in creativity but importantly, it also reduces or eliminates the likelihood of miscommunication or misunderstanding within the workplace.

Esprit de Corps
Team members interact on a continuous basis for the duration of a task. In the process, employees develop friendships, a sense of unity and become committed to the accomplishment of the team’s objectives. This kind of working atmosphere brings together employees in the most fruitful manner.

Equal distribution of work
Since a team is committed towards a common goal, all the members of the team are delegated a chunk of work. This ensures all the members of the team work towards the common goal and not only are a few members burdened with the responsibility of completing the work. A team which ensures that the workload is shared equally across its members is perhaps one of the best examples of teamwork being put to use.

How can we help?

Here in DCP we spend significant amounts of our time working with teams to enhance their performance in all of these areas. We use our knowledge of personality and what makes people tick to enhance awareness in teams on an individual and group basis. We use the highest quality personality tools to aid you in the process of learning more about the individual personalities at play in your team and how they combine to really enhance your teams’ performance as a whole.

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What Makes Strategic Decisions Different – from Rosenzweig’s article in HBR

How to Improve Decision Making

– The Idea

Decisions fall into 4 categories, with the “right” decision making approach depending on 2 key factors – a) How much control the decision maker has over the terms and outcomes of the decision b) How success will be judged, i.e., will it be on relative or absolute terms.

In order to make better strategic decisions individuals need to identify what type of decision they are facing and develop the versatility to change their approach accordingly. Sometimes it is best practice to shift our mindset between both fields. This approach is know as “deliberate practice” and can be a crucial element of high performance.

Four Types of Decisions

  • Routine choices and judgments: Here the goal is to do well but not necessarily to finish first in a competition. E.g., personal investment decisions – you cannot improve performance after you buy shares. Here well-known lessons about avoiding common biases e.g., unrealistic optimism, gamblers fallacy can be applied. Control = low, and Performance = Absolute
  • Influencing Outcomes:Yet with many of our others decisions we can use our energy and our talents to make things happen.  e.g., how long we need to complete a project.  With these types of decisions, optimism and positive thinking can be very important for shaping outcomes.  Control = high, and Performance = Absolute
  • Placing Competitive Bets: This type of decision introduces a third dimension (competition). Success now depends on how you perform relative to others. The best decisions need to anticipate the moves of rivals. Princeton professor Dixit and Yale professor Nalebuff define the essence of strategic thinking as “the art of outdoing an adversary knowing that the adversary is trying to do the same as you” Control = low, and Performance = Relative
  • Fourth Field Decisions- This category involves decisions that are often the most consequential decisions that executive face, (e.g., launch a new product, and acquire a new company). In this field executive can influence the outcomes of their decisions and their choices are only successful if they outperform their competition. This is the essence of strategic management.

 

When facing these decisions executives need both – careful, dispassionate analysis and a willingness to push the boundaries.  When we can influence outcomes or outperform someone it is essential to have high levels of self-belief. Only those with high levels of commitment and determination will be in a position to win.

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Phantoms in Organisations

Eric Berne used the term phantom to refer to the continuing presence of someone in a group after he or she has left the group. The concept of the phantom is useful in explaining some of the dynamics that are activated when a person leaves an organisation. The way in which an employee exit is handled can lead to different consequences for the remaining group.

Phantoms are what remains (i.e., after a person has been laid off or asked to leave) and are often at greater risk of being formed when (a) the organisation’s procedures are opaque and (b) when the organisations formal, and real aims differ greatly. E.g., Firing someone  can often lead to problems when a decision is not widely accepted, or where there has been lack of transparency around it. These are the circumstances in which a departing worker may leave behind an “active phantom”.

The persistence of these phantoms is proportional to the importance these people played in the group and how much their leaving was traumatic on the group.

The effects of phantoms on the emotional and behavioural climate of the organisation include:

  • Widespread sense of instability if an employee has been fired
  • Overadaptation and agitation
  • Reduced proactive behaviour
  • A loss of trust and business loyalty * especially among self-motivated people

In the majority of organisations phantoms are not useful, so it is better to prevent them from happening.

  • Prepare plans to prevent the formation of phantoms – from deciding not to lay someone off, to identifying effective procedures for doing so.
  • Make people aware when possible of the organisations hidden aims

 

 

With regards to leadership, each new leader needs to be aware of the “phantom” left behind by his/her predecessor in order to deal with habits, communication style, and the group culture implemented by the person, as well as the expectations of leadership.

 

* taken from Marco Mazzetti’s “Phantoms in Organizations”

 

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There Are No One-Size-Fits-All Management Styles

There are forests worth of books espousing their own management styles. There’s probably a copse of books within that management forest telling you that you need to constantly adapt and change your style. However the idea of management styles suggests that management is a top down activity, something that is imposed on workers that they will respond to. The reality of the situation is that each business sector, each business unit and each business activity all need different styles of management. There will be elements that unite management across all those parts of an industry but the only universal element is when it comes to management is “people” and people are unique.

Every employee you deal with will be unique, their own person and have aspects to their personalities individual to them. The universal of managing people is that once you recognize this you can become a far more effective leader.
management styles

There are questions that human resources will ask by default in every job interview, “Are you a team player?” is the number one. Of course some people are not team players, but if they’re looking for a job they’re sure to say they are. Others grow up dreaming of working in a team, be it a sports team or a team of software developers who share their passion for code. Another question asked is “How do you deal with high stress environments?” And again most people will give an answer they believe the business is looking for. That is all part of the interview process. Finding out the true personality of a potential hire is difficult, and unless you have true expertise in hiring processes at every interview you will learn a little, but maybe not enough.

Once someone is in the business and under your purview the real challenge starts. Those questions you asked in during the interview need to be top in your mind as you manage. You need to be asking yourself, “How does he deal with stress?” and “Is she really a team player?” After a few months you will have an idea of the basic capabilities of the person but it is only by really understanding someone that you can bring out their best work.

Despite the answers given in the interview process everyone will approach teamwork differently, and everyone will have a different response to stress. The management styles you need to act on every day are the ones where you come to understand people’s responses to a situation and create an environment that works best for each individual. These questions were important during the hiring stage to see if the person would fit in the business and the different management styles. They are even more important now that you’ve decided the person can be a valuable member by making sure they can bring their best to the team.