Tag Archives: productivity

Micromanage Self!

There is a Chinese proverb “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still”.  We would never find a problem in employees that solve problems , are result oriented and are just good at there job , but this same attitude prevents one from being effective.

Steven Covey once summed it up that “We accomplish all what we do through delegation – either to time or to other people” . So yes one can do anything but not everything! It is important that one delegates to create space and opportunity both for self or individual. It helps find time for self and allows people around you to grow.

There are some approaches that can help one to get into the above mode. In general and at large hiring good talent is key to the process of delegation followed by a loose boundary of guard-rails with a let-it go attitude. Holding too tight to something is most severe damage one can to your own prospect or team morale.

Here are quick approach directions to think and dwell upon:

  1. Resource to work relationship is of that which has least friction. Find natural alignment of talent to type of work. Trying to over-train somebody into a role , can sometimes be self-defeating goal. Generally people do not speak up , but it is true , everybody is not meant to do everything !
  2. Set absolute performance benchmarks and guidelines but do not take away element of discretion in your management approach.  Be a minimalist who gives enough for people to deduce , operate and deliver.
  3. Play out your bets in conjunction to insight # 1. World is not a perfect place & therefore one has to try it out. Trying out people will allow you to either get better folks than you or may be they fail. If they fail , then one needs to take that as temporal set-back and focus on absolute performance.

Do not be a mechanical  about your choices and over-trying one option for delegation is not an option , that is termed more a fearful move to avoid failure ! In end , if you do not micromanage self , you will not identify streams that can be mapped out and get an understanding when to fan-in versus out!

Gamify Time Management

Sometimes life is too chaotic for one to make any sense. Although you are not over-worked or spending sleepless nights but still you find yourself in midst of a battlefield filled with conflicting priorities. Managing under such circumstances is not stress and sometimes can lead to conflict within team members as well.

Among the time management tools and concepts available to us, the urgent-important matrix is one of the most helpful. I had talked about it long ago in one of my blogs Urgent v/s Important Matrix , but am revising this today with more perspectives which I build with my team members who have started using this as a way to communicate and align to each other for creating maximum focus and momentum on goals that are important to them as well across the group

I would have not done a good job of providing some history around this simple tool , so for the inquisitive one here is the background on how this framework or concept came into being:

“This concept was popularised by Stephen Covey in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, but it was actually used by U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower long before Covey made it famous. That’s why this method is also often referred to as the Eisenhower Matrix. “

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Multiple Figures

My objective of using the matrix is not only to organise self but also try to find management synergy across the teams and us this as a tool for alignment between various people trying to work in an agile and shared environment.

First figure explains principles of management around how to create Focus on urgent and important tasks and use power of delegation to deal with things that might not be important but are urgent. Delegation allows those tasks to be attended for as they are urgent but via a different resource pool for whom it becomes a focus a area. Imagine this as a connected web of focused tasks.

While I recommend to use power of negotiation to determine whether Important but rather not urgent task should have your mind-share or can it be moved to a zone of backlog which is not urgent and not important. In turn imply Kanban then to manage backlog.

At all times your focus area or rather urgent and important task list should be lean with a constant decision making process to shift them through various traversal paths as shown in last figure in my napkin notes. The idea is to keep the list lean , eliminate tasks by using power of negotiation and delegation. Create backlog and then manage it effectively to feed back your focus areas.

The second figure in my notes is kind of interesting illustration on how agile play into this and what velocity you should maintain at times deal with quadrants. Focus with high velocity to burn your urgent and important task. Most important to achieve business goals (Learn fast / fail fast). Negotiation will be a slow burn process whilst backlog tends to remain still. It is important to note that we should maintain high velocity for for urgent but not important tasks as they have a burden on your system and you would not want the focus areas to be impacted at any times by this quadrant. That is why power of delegation along with right skill sets tends to help a lot while we deal with this quadrant.

Hope you find these new explanations and illustrations useful while you manage your work or even for that matter personal life. I like to see this as gamification of work that adds a fun element when various team members talk this language and create a momentum that is required to execute business operations in a steadfast mode.