Posts belonging to Category Time Management – Business



The Meeting Craze

multi-directionsThere is a meeting craze. 

Every day, people meet and meet and meet.  There seems to be a confusion between work and meeting.  Meetings are not work.

Did you ever wonder how effective meetings can  really be when all people do is meet?  When is the work actually done?  

Most people who have meetings think that all their meetings are effective otherwise why would they have them.  Yet, in actual fact, if outside observers sat in most meetings, they would find that the majority of meetings are anything but effective.  Most meetings are a waste of time.

Why?

That’s why . . . . no one ever asks “why should we have this meeting?”  You’d think they would.  After all, doesn’t everyone think their time is valuable and don’t they want to maximize their productivity at work? 

Meetings have become a status symbol – the more meetings you attend, the more important you are.  That’s the general consensus.  So everyone wants to look and feel important so they book themselves into a lot of meetings.  Is that effective?

Depends.  What is the work culture?  If meetings are a status symbol, then people show up at meetings whether they have anything to contribute or not.  And everyone invites everyone else to their meetings because reciprocity assures status for all concerned.  Some people get very upset if a meeting is called to which they are not invited.  They couldn’t have said or done anything which would have moved the agenda forward but they don’t want to “miss out” on anything. 

I saw one manager once so upset at not being invited to a certain meeting that they literally had a melt down.  It was not pretty!

Who Can Change the Meeting Culture?

Anyone.  

It takes one person with the courage to ask questions and to create effective meetings themselves.   It takes someone to say no to meetings at which they have nothing to offer.  It takes someone brave enough to introduce new approaches to meetings. 

Meetings are very costly.  Next time you’re at a meeting, calculate how much in salary time was consumed at the meeting by all the people in attendance and what was generated.  Was it cost effective?  Likely not. 

It’s time people got back to real work and stop the “meetings craze”!

Lorraine Arams

Wize Time

When Should You Speak Up?

When should you speak up?

 

 

 

 

People would say:

  • never – “I’ll lose my job”, “I’ll make enemies”, “I won’t be respected for a difference of opinion”, “It’s not my problem. I don’t want to get involved”, “I don’t like it but I need to live with it”, “I’m the peacemaker”, “I don’t want to cause trouble”, “People won’t like me”
  • sometimes – “If it’ll get me what I want”, “When it’s serious enough”, “When I’m asked for my opinion”
  • depends – “Depends on whether or not I have the time”, “Depends on how it will affect me”, “Depends on what other people think first”

And so people show up to work every day, put their heads down and say nothing unless spoken to.  In their personal lives, they repeat the same habit – speaking up very little to “keep the peace”.

The Inevitable

One day, as it will inevitably happen, there will be an explosion.

Everyone, at one time or another,  shows up at work and in their personal lives tired, irritable, and generally not well.  It’s all too much.  They blow.  They say something to someone and it’s not good.  All that pent up energy simply discharges.

Like a volcano, they have “blown their top”.  Pressure has built up so much, sometimes over many years, that the wrong thing is said to the wrong person with the wrong reaction!

What’s the Alternative?

Practice.

Speaking up is not a one time event.  It’s a skill developed over time and the learning never stops.

When a person practices daily to speak up in work and social situations, that person increases their ability to communicate effectively.

When a person explodes, no one hears them.  Like a volcano, the eruption is so intense that people are taken aback by the intensity and the focus of others becomes to calm the person down instead of listening to what is being said.

Where Do You Start?

Start by deciding every day will be practice day.  When a difference of opinion arises, speak up even in benign situations such as where to have lunch.  Notice the words and tone of voice used and after the exchange, think about how the message could have been conveyed better or pat yourself on the back for a successful exchange.

Practice.  Practice.  Practice.

With practice, an eruption is unlikely to happen unless planned for a purpose.  Sometimes eruptions can be effective but great care is required in the execution.

If a person is always practicing expressing themselves, others will get used to it and a strong opinion won’t be such a shock.  Self-control will be easier and the message is likely to be heard even if the outcome is disagreement.

Expect Disagreement.

We are all so different.  What seems to be perfectly logical and make sense to one person, doesn’t to another.  Everyone expressing themselves in a respectful way often results in surprising outcomes where collaboration or co-operation may occur or a “truce” of sorts.  If not, at least everyone knows where everyone else stands on an issue which, in itself,  is a form of peace.  Dialogue can continue.

Lorraine Arams
http://www.wizetime.com

 

 

 

Gulf of Mexico – The Epitome of Poor Time Management

The epitome of poor time management is demonstrated by the BP tragedy that keeps on giving !

The aim of any corporation is profit – and that’s a good thing for shareholders and employees alike – as long as there are profits, shareholders will continue to invest and employees will continue to have jobs.  Customers will continue to have access to the product too.  That’s planning – assuring cotinued health of the corporation.  And what are plans based on?  Mission and values of the company?

Okay – so far so good – and what is consumed during the planning process – time!  Good planning means taking the time  to assure that all aspects of achieving the company’s goals are taken into account – and that includes planning ahead to solve foreseeable problems.

How does that translate to good time management?  If you think and plan ahead for any issue which may come about, it means that, in the long run, you save time.  Why?  Because you can move into action immediately preventing, likely, the problem getting worse and consuming even more time by more people for a longer period of time.

Is the situation in the Gulf of Mexico getting worse?  You betcha!  We haven’t seen anything yet!

And you can bet that there are a lot of people at BP “spinning their wheels” trying to figure out what to do now. 

If BP executives had taken the time to plan for the worse possible scenario, oil cleaning equipment with the latest technology would have been on the scene quickly.  Are they?  No.  Because no one was prepared, not even government.  Would the well have been capped within hours?  Yes but it wasn’t.  Would the damaged parts of the rig have been repaired before they caused problems?  Yes.  Were they?  No.  Why not?  Why wouldn’t any executive in the oil business not be able to foresee these possible problems and assure that plans were in place to deal with this kind of situation quickly and effectively?  After all, if you’re an expert in an industry, surely, you know the possibilities.

Now, of course, we’re all paying the price.

People diedWildlife is dying Ocean pleasures as we once knew them in that region are being destroyedOur food supply is being wiped out.  Livelihoods in that region are becoming extinct.   Why?  Because BP executives placed no value on the very resource on which they operated – they didn’t care enough to take the time to plan for the worse possible scenario and take action to assure that everything was in place should it ever happen.  To me, that’s poor planning – a poor use of time.

Say, another scenario had taken place.  In this scenario, the BP would have spent time during their planning stages to reach their goal of drilling from the ocean floor by assuring safety, maintenance and disaster procedures.  In this case, the disaster may have never happened because the broken parts of the rig would have been repaired immediately.  And if something did happen, BP was ready to cap the well immediately, deploy the latest in oil clean up technology quickly,  and execute a procedure to assure minimum impact on lives and the environment.  Would it have taken so much more time to plan this way?  Of course, not.

But, now, all over the world, we will all lose.  

Now we will all pay – we will all pay at the pumps, for the clean up, reduction in food supply and water-related activities and for what has been lost which can never be recovered – the health of our oceans.  And all the children and grand-children will pay – even those of the BP executives!

And there’s another one just waiting to happen in greater proportions!  Did you watch 60 Minutes last Sunday?  If you didn’t, try to find a rebroadcast somewhere – you’ll be astonished.  It was said on 60 Minutes that BP was ignoring that problem too!

With poor planning, there is no allowance for worse case scenarios and the negative impact on time is substantial.  Good time management practices assure that the time taken today to plan saves time, energy and resources in the future.  If BP executives had taken the time to properly plan for all eventualities which could have been foreseen, hundreds of thousands of hours could have been saved by BP employees, oil clean up crews, governments trying to deal with the disaster, volunteers trying to save wildlife and clean up the beaches, and it could have saved lives!

Lorraine Arams
New goal achieving system at
http://www.wizetime.com

What Has Happened to Our Time?

Where has our time gone?  We have:  cell phones, computers, email, web conferencing, cars, washers, dryers, vacuum cleaners, PDAs – hey, weren’t they all suppose to free up some time?

Have you ever wondered how people worked in offices before there were computers, cell phones, email, PDAs, etc.?  Think about it – at one time in history, office work consisted of pen and paper.  Paper was very expensive and ink came out of  an ink well onto a feather nib!  You can imagine it was likely a much quieter environment.  When an employee went home, there were no phones to reach them with nor emails.

Yet, today, with all the tools available, we are frantic!  Whenever I’m sitting in a waiting room or walking on the streets on a week day, I love to watch people.  Some people’s facial expressions are so tense I want to run up to them and say, “How’s your day going?  Can I help?”

Why is it that we are so stressed at work?

One theory, among many,  is that we “rushed” to buy the latest gadget and the latest software without asking ourselves first whether we needed it or not or whether the latest and greatest suited our business.  Everyone else was doing it – we couldn’t be left behind.

The rush to “keep up with the other businesses” left many with huge expenditures in time and money.  If everyone, before buying anything, had asked themselves, “How will this gadget improve the bottom line?”, there might have been a more rationale approach to buying the newest technology offered only to be tempted by something supposedly even better six months down the road!

Decision-makers need to be involved with the people within the Company and not so concerned how “they look” from the outside.  Whenever the latest is being sold to your company, create a group of 4 or 5 people from the company who will be the most affected by any proposed change.  So, if the change is new software for the assembly line, put together a group who work at the different stages of the assembly line.  Make them part of the decision-making process.  Yes, they may not want change and they may fear losing their jobs.  Be honest and open – talk about their fears – don’t hide anything. 

In every part of the operation, if decision makers had worked hand-in-hand with the people who would be most affected by the changes, changes would have been right and serve everyone.  How many times in offices did I see an accountant delegated to buy office software for secretaries to use?  How could an accountant ever possibly know what a secretary needs to do his or her job?  They can’t.  Or how many times have you seen elected officials make laws or policies which impacted people’s livelihood without ever contacting the people in the industry?  The results were disastrous.

When the latest and greatest comes out again,

First, ask yourself:   “Do we need it?  How will it help us?. 

Second: gather members of the group which will be affected and ask for their opinion and suggestions –  make them part of the decision. 

Third, ask yourself:  What will be the costs in time and money to implement it?  Can we afford it?”

And ask yourself how you “turn down the stress levels” in your company – there are always little things which can be done especially if you concentrate on  highly functioning, efficient and effective operations.

Lorraine Arams
http://www.wizetime.com

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