Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Time Management Means Something Is Wrong

I was once asked to design a time management course for a global engineering organisation. After interviewing staff for two days I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t continue the exercise because I realised that time management was itself literally a waste of time. I learnt that time-management was no substitute for a clear business focus or strategy within which people could manage themselves.

The next variant of inadvertent leader incompetence is where in effect a leader says to their followers: “I can’t solve this problem alone, I need your help”; and followers in the meantime say: “I can’t get focused until you tell me what the plan is”. And so it goes, round and round. In the meantime the internal stock of confidence in leader and leadership decays with every day that the real problems of the organisation remain untreated. It is as though the fundamental problem that the organisation needs to get to grips with, the linked problems of innovation and power, is like a greasy pig which the leadership of the organisation wants to cook and eat, but is unwilling to allow itself to get dirty and bloody wrestling with in the dirt, when so far all that they have had to deal with is small rodents who like getting trapped.

Leaders must be able to frame the problems around innovating, and lead the process that unpacks the necessary dependencies that must be managed to deliver successful innovating, even if they don't understand the future.

The real problem of innovating is the absence of leaders willing to create a situation where the everyday allocation of power and resources has to be actively considered as though last year or the previous decade never happened, and to consciously share power with those who can innovate for the greater good of the organisation, even if they don't look like us.


1 If you are worried about time-management, then your strategy is weak.
2 If you want to eat the bacon, you’d better plan on getting dirty and,
3 You just might need to involve some other folks, and share the bacon with them.

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