Friday’s NYTimes (12/4/2015) brought another article about meetings. This one, “The Modern Meeting: Call In, Turn Off, Tune Out” by Katie Hafner, takes on the virtual meeting facilitated by the mute button on your phone. The article, accompanied on the web by a slideshow of some guy doing yard work while at meetings, repeats the age old complaints of meetings that are not involving or engaging many of the participants. Some companies are insisting on videoconferences to provide more “accountability” for participants. There is sage advice about the use of the mute button and the dangers of video. I once appeared in my bathrobe for a meeting with some colleagues in India when I mistakenly hit the video button on a Skype call.
Time – a most valuable resource but always fleeting
In the previous posting in this series we closed with Drucker’s five essential practices for managers.
- know where their time goes.
- focus on outward contribution.
- build on strengths….
- concentrate on the few major areas where superior performance will produce outstanding results.
- make effective decisions.
This posting focuses on the first of these, time.
Time is a central resource, yet unlike other resources it cannot be inventoried, purchased, or controlled in any way. It is always the scarcest resource. Thus the use of our time and the organization’s time is critical to achieving results.
Effectiveness Depends on Continuous, Uninterrupted Blocks of Time
“Time in large, continuous, and uninterrupted units is needed….”((1)) A manager who can only find brief moments for reflective thought is bound to think about only what is at hand, what they already know, and what they have already done.
Drucker argues that there is a three step process that is the foundation of effectiveness in managing time. First is recording the use of time, second is managing time,((2)) and third is the consolidation of discretionary time. These are the steps to coming to grips with how one’s time is being used now.
Reducing Time Wasters Continue readingFootnotes:
- all quotes are from Chapter Two – Know Thy Time in Drucker’s The Effective Executive [↩]
- the use of the word “managing” here refers to the setting of priorities and making choices about the use of time. There is no sense to thinking that time is managed in the way every other resource in the organization can be managed. [↩]