Time management matters when nanoseconds make the cut for an Olympic medal.
That’s the case with champion women’s skicross Fanny Smith, from Villars-sur-Ollon, who won the bronze medal in the Olympics at PyeongChang. Our children learned to ski in Villars and I too felt that thrill of the locals when she earned her medal.
On our local slopes we don’t see these; they are prevelant at the Olympics. The blue lines on the slopes.
Optimize Time with Success Lines
These markers help racers and coaches trace the optimal path to follow. It’s literally their time-optimization guide. Stay within the lines to go faster.
How do you track the optimal path and reach your goals fast? For your life? For your work? For your relationships?
Time management is an issue for many of us. Few of us can afford hours retracing our steps. And yet many of us do so with relationships. Building positive rapport between people takes time…and it takes even longer to clean up after the s*@! hits the fan.
Too far off these blue lines and the skiers crash and forfeit the race.
If you find yourself impatient or frustrated or repeating yourself, it’s time to consider. Might something be out-of-focus: either your goal or the path to get there?
Save Time & Fix your objective
I begin many workshops with an activity* to bring our goals into clear focus.
Step 1—List the Time Consuming Challenges
What zaps your time and energy in relationships? We clear out what blocks our vision by naming these challenges.
For a workshop for managers of Millennials, we wrote down “Challenges Working with Millennials.”
Participants chime in: resistance to rules, attached to the phone, in need of perpetual feedback, (too) high view of his (untested) capabilities, and even spelling mistakes.
Maybe you don’t work with the Gen Y. Then tweak the question to match your work dynamics:
- Challenges of working with off-site teams
- Challenges of working in Finance/Legal/Marketing in an industrial group
This process of listing difficulties creates a positive group dynamic and opens communication. Everyone realizes we sweat and worry over similar predicaments. In expressing these shared relationship challenges, we give ourselves and each other the permission to be human and to learn.
Expressing the negatives has the effect of letting dust settle. The atmosphere is lighter and we are ready to clearly focus on the positives we seek.
Step 2—Identify the Team Skills to Build
We then create a separate and complementary list to bring the leadership goals into focus. These are the skills managers seek to transmit to their teams to create a motivating and performing work environment. We enumerate them under, “Qualities of our Team’s Culture.”
Of course, you seek to develop technical capabilities: mastery of financial analysis or digital marketing tool. You ALSO aim to build communication and soft skills: trust, mutual respect, learning from experienced team members, learning from youth, seeking excellence…
Once the two lists are completed, we step back to review them side by side and invite comments from everyone
Some participant are motivated: “I had not thought of myself in the leadership development business. How inspiring!”
Others balk: “What pressure. I don’t master all those soft skills. How can I pass them on to my team?”
Many have questions: “Do I have to do all of them at once?” and “So, what is the link between the two lists?”
Step 4—Use Time Optimizing Success Lines
Success lines help us identify where we are and where to aim. They’re like a GPS.
These lists represent our leadership GPS.
The challenges point to our present situation. “You are here.” This is where we have arrived using our current leadership style. This is also where you will stay by continuing with your actual managerial tools.
The qualities represent our desired destination. Like when your team members jump out of bed in the morning with enthusiasm to get to work and engage with a dynamic team. Or when colleagues seek you or your employee out for greater responsibilities.
Focus, Focus, Focus
But you may wonder, “It’s just a list…”
Correction. It’s a lens.
You get what you measure. When your bonus is set on profit, you’ll likely avoid high volume, low margin customers.
“Human systems grow in the direction of their deepest and most frequent inquiries.” – David Cooperrider, founder of Appreciative Inquiry, Case Western University
Our leadership focus is what we generate in our team. Your and my focus matters because it changes our actions.
“The act of looking for certain information evokes the information we went looking for—and simultaneously eliminates our opportunity to observe other information.” – John Wheatley, quantum physicist
When we talk, model, clarify, and encourage the qualities we seek in our team, we create clear success lines. And that saves tons of time…and money, and energy, and good spirits.
Positive Communication Tools
A clear focus is the first among many tools to build the qualities in your Leadership GPS. Check out the workshops to discover others and how to develop them in your team.
Leadership GPS Works In Life too
This optimizing GPS applies in personal relationships as well.
When our four boys were young I embarked on a husband-improvement-program. As a woman, I KNEW how to be a great dad!!!
Every day for one month I noted one helpful behavior my husband did for the family and let him know my appreciation. “Honey, thanks for having done the dishes. It’s really nice to finally relax after having put the kids to bed.”
I anticipated behavioral modification in my husband. This process changed me.
My previous focus lay on the mountain of chores to be done and how my husband did not do his part. My tone of voice often sounded critical. When focusing on his contributions, I became more enjoyable to be around. Maybe he became more involved or my company became more pleasant; either way, we ALL (sons included) do chores.
Ranking high on the list of “Dampierre Qualities to Groove Together” (our family GPS) you’ll find:
Everyone in the family helps.
Food for thought
- How many times a day do you focus on what is going wrong? On what is going right?
- How time effective is your critique?
- Your critique is welcome here. What do you disagree with in this post?
Tell us in the comments. Thanks.
Cover photo from lacote.ch