How to Assess and Align Your Time
The last few of these lessons are gonna move fast. Are you ready? Okay. Lesson six is around aligning your time to your key priorities. As I mentioned earlier, time is one of your most important assets as a leader. Here's some of the reasons why. Are your clear on what your top three to five priorities are? I am astounded that so many people don't know the answer to this question. What are the two or three things that are most important? What are these jobs to be done in your role that are most critical for your success and for the role in that team? So many of us are achievement oriented so what can happen is we bite off more than we can chew. So we're constantly saying yes to more things going on our plate. What we're not doing is pushing stuff away. We can do a much better job of saying no to things. And, by the way, if we're really clear on what our top priorities are, it makes it a lot easier to think about what we need to say no to. The other challenge, too, is for you to think a...
bout your team. How capable is your team? If your team isn't where you need it to be, you don't have the talent that you need, or the experiences, or the capabilities, and you're having to make up for it, you need to kinda take a step back to make sure you've got the right people on the bus and maybe you need to get some people off the bus. So you can be more strategic. And as I mentioned, how much time are you spending in the present? How much time do you need to be spending in the future? As a leader, you're trying to create that future, so what does it mean around how you're investing in the future in your time? And finally, what is your relationship with time? It's really interesting to me how the relationship that folks have with time and how it's okay to be late or not late. I worked with one leader who came into a role. They're in charge of about 400 folks in their division and she was new to the role. She's a phenomenal leader. And she wanted to set the tone up front how important time was. And what does it really mean to hold people accountable. So on her first conference call with her team, which was supposed to, we'll say, start at 11 o'clock. Let's say she had about 10 folks on her team, eight folks were there at 11 o'clock and then at 11:01 someone came on and then at 11:02 someone else came on. She just sat there, waited patiently and the other two people came on so she said, "Now that we have everybody. "Clearly, there are other things that are more important "and by the way, that's okay. "It's currently 11:02. "I'm gonna get off this call now "so you can work on the things "that are most important to you "and we're gonna reschedule this call "and it's totally okay." Click. Do you think anybody showed up late ever again to any of those meetings? She never had to talk about it again. She didn't blame anybody, she wasn't being judgmental. She was just saying, "Oh, they're late. "Something may be more important." So it really sets the tone in terms of the relationship. And think about this for you. Time is our most precious asset. What relationship do you have with time? What relationship do you want to set with others around how they spend time? So what I want you to do, and you can do that after today's course, is I want you to do a really simple time assessment exercise. This was inspired by my work with Rob Kaplan, who was the former Vice Chairman at Goldman Sachs. Here's an exercise that you can do. What I want you to do is look at the last two weeks of your calendar. Last two weeks. Or pick two weeks that you think are fairly typical. What I want you to do is I want you to sign a one to the time spent in your calendar on the things that are a top priority. Top three to five priority. How much time is allocated there? Number two, assign a two to the things that are important but not mission-critical. And then a three next to those items in your calendar where you're scratching your head and you're saying to yourself, "Why did I spend time on that?" Or maybe it shoulda been delegated. So look at the last two weeks and what you can do is maybe just do a printout so you can write it right on there. And I want you to do a calculation around percentages that you're spending in each of those domains. So I'm gonna show you in a moment a C.E.O. I'm working with and his allocation. This, by the way, applies at all levels. So, what you can see here, and this is a real example. He was shocked at the 40%, absolutely shocked, and almost overnight, because once he got this insight, created this awareness around how he was spending his time and we looked at his calendar, he changed this instantly and bumped this way up to focus on growth-related activities for the company. He looked at it and said, "This is crazy." We go into one day then the next, I can't remember what I did yesterday. We're so busy, we just have to be much more conscious about how we spend our time and we have to focus on the things that matter most to our success. And here's an interesting executive shadowing study that was done by Insigniam. What they found was "48% of tasks that could be delegated by executives were not "because leaders felt like "it was quicker to complete tasks themselves "rather than hand them off to someone else." Raise your hand if you've felt this way. Right, right. So, we're in these situations all the time. "You know what, it would just be faster if I do it." What you're doing is when you make that decision, in many ways, you're doing a disservice to your team. And what I mean by that is if you're doing it, that means they're not doing it and potentially improving and growing their team. As a leader, you're responsible for getting results as a leader. You're also responsible for being a talent leader, developing your team. And one great way to develop your team, is what experiences, what tasks you give them that can help grow them. And if you're always doing it yourself, you're doing a disservice to them and you're not growing the capability of your team.