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Making time count

Written by on 21 February 2011

WatchAll too often, time becomes compressed, which leads to expensive measures in order to complete a job on time. Often, the cause of such difficulties does not lie with demanding clients, but within your own organisation. Individuals sometimes fail to allocate enough time for subordinates to plan and conduct their own essential tasks.

Time allocation is both a leadership and management function

MapIt is very tempting to take your time to understand, analyse and plan a response to a difficult problem. However, all too often this process is conducted at the expense of subordinates. Understanding how much time you have and allocating appropriate amounts of time to each stage of the implementation process will ensure robust execution can take place.

Need more time at the senior level?

Senior managers can sometimes mistakenly believe that they need more time than their subordinates because they are dealing with greater levels of complexity. However, they also need to remember the greater experience, training and capability that are available to senior management. It is essential that the cascade process of implementation is fully understood; individuals need to appreciate the problems and challenges of the next level down.

Planning and implementation

Every level of the business needs to conduct it’s own analysis of a problem (which relates to the task that has been given to them) and develop their own plan based on local knowledge and experience. This process ensures that the solution is optimised for local implementation and supports buy in, commitment and dramatically increases efficiency and success, however effective time allocation is essential.

One solution – planning guidance

The British military enforce a system known as the one third / two third rule, which stipulates that in the time between a problem being issued and the time it needs to be implemented, the leader should not take anymore than one third of the time for analysis, planning and implementation, and two thirds of the available time should be given to subordinates in order to conduct the same cycle. This discipline is highly effective and is a function of leadership to impose this rigour on planning functions such as staff or support functions (accounts, marketing etc) ensuring that the necessary information is available and fully disclosed for subordinates.

Remember, taking more time for yourself comes at the expense of your team. It’s down to you. It’s a test of leadership and what makes you tick!

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