Posts Tagged ‘time management’

One of the biggest challenges in chaotic situations is managing time, or should I say, finding enough time. A sign of time is critical and a change in approach is needed is spontaneous overtime that steadily increases. The probability of failure increases proportionally. What to do? The trick is to switch from management to governance.


The trap in such situations is trying to be the Flash – a comic book character who could race around so fast it appeared he was multitasking. With this approach each person, event, work package, etc., are approached on an individual basis. Wrong!

Management is fine when the situation is sufficiently stable for rules to be enforced and management by exception can be used. The challenge is getting to that spot. This is where governance comes into play.


Governance is applying management efforts across a boundary rather than on an individual basis. In chaotic situations the leader will die the death of a thousand razor cuts when attempting to shoulder all the individual challenges and difficulties people will bring to the table. At the boundary level the number of interactions decreases, returning some of the leader’s time.

What works is leaving everyone in the caldron to stew and figure out, as a group, how best to stabilize the situation. They all sink or survive as a group. This has the effect of cutting down petty behavior and pushing people to think. It is summed well in a quote from Mary Case, “No pressure, no diamonds.” A key characteristic of complex systems not only surviving but also thriving is the presence of a pressure that will not let up until an adaptive solution has been created.

Power and Survivability

The first most important attribute to gauge in a complex situation is how much power you or the sponsor above you has. Power is simply the ability to influence. This was covered in Managing Expectations. The power umbrella must be sufficiently broad to cover enough stakeholders and resources for an adequate solution to be generated. Once the power has been gained it is then critical to avoid a major pitfall – excessive preoccupation with the design specifications and their implementation.

Functional versus Design Specifications

Design specifications ARE important since there needs to be a testable deliverable for successful completion of the project. Success and the devil are in the design details. At the leadership level, though, one’s focus should lean towards the functional specification. Leave the team to solve the design problems. If the leader gets pulled into design problems two things happen: there is no leader, and the dynamic among team members gets upset because a powerful person has stepped into the design effort. People play to the highest power present – they address the powerful person’s presence rather than focus on solutions.

“How do I focus on the functional specification?” is the question. The answer brings us back to the boundary between individuals and groups. By insisting on the expected performance at the boundaries between subsystems along with the boundary between the overall system and the outside world the leader keeps perspective. Once teams learn decisions and judgments will be made at the boundary level the healthy pressure is on to work with other team members and stakeholders.

When the desired responses are achieved the leader then can reward all the individuals who contributed to the success. Obviously, this is something of a paradox because the individual learns to succeed by cooperation with other team members and contributing to client success. When this frame-of-mind permeates the project flexible relationships develop, amplifying the power present in the situation. Why? Customers can feel it emanating from the team and want more of it. The odds of success go up.

What I Wish I Knew More About in Sales #3: Managing Your Time

by Robert Driscoll on October 29, 2009


I wish I would have taken more sales training classes that focused on time management and sell cycle control.”

Joe Shea

Founder, Shea & Associates

Time is limited and scarce.  It is something that you cannot save for a later date.  Once time is lost, you can never make up for it.  Everyone has the same amount of time in the day to make offers, but it’s what you do with your time and how you maximize your efforts that will separate you from others.

Most people feel they have too much on their plate and therefore not enough time.  They’re too busy.  You have to make the most out of your time and therefore you need to learn to quit those things that are taking up too much time and start acting on those offers that can produce results.  You need to learn to prioritize your concerns.  Bad time management skills can overwhelm you as you try to take on too much and you start getting backlogged.  Overdue work starts interfering with current work and the snowball starts getting bigger and bigger as new work continues to be given to you.  Lack of time is blamed for too much stress, not being able to complete tasks or achieve your personal and professional goals.  The reality is that poor time management skills are most likely what has created your stress.

Time management is also important in your sell cycle control.  Not only should you prioritize your work “tasks”, but your sales opportunities as well.  Being too optimistic in sales can hurt you more than you think as you go after every opportunity.  You need to learn to quit opportunities that are taking up too much of your time and focus more on those that have a higher probability of closing.  You will find yourself becoming more productive using time management skills, tools and proper sales cycle control, as well as accomplishing more with less effort.

Proper time management will help you prioritize your day, your career and create harmony in your life.  Eliminating those things in your life and career that are not that important to you and planning your time wisely will allow you to do more things and have more time in your day.  So get rid of the feeling that you have too much to do and not enough time and start thinking that you have all the time in the world to focus on those things that are the most important to you.


Logo was created by Stacy Driscoll who is a freelance designer based in South Florida where she continues to provide her clients with innovative design solutions while continuing to grow her client base and skill set.  More of her work can be found at her website