Horror on hand…for you

The chances are that you never come back to it. That’s your fear, so you try to attend to every mail and every call in real time. You stay late and carry your blackberry and your laptop around. (Why do you need both?)

Deep down somewhere, you know that you are not the boss. Those mails, calls, and now sms or tweets are setting your agenda. But at other times you let your designation fool you.

This is not another piece on time management, it is about you taking a lead.

If think reading mail or responding to calls and messages is work, think again.

Let us be ruthless about what qualifies as work:  Work of value happens when you execute a repeatable process generating a result that is of value (expressed in money terms or through ready acceptance for subsequent value generation) for someone inside or outside the organization. OK, there is more. If you do a one time activity that clearly supports the above kind process then that too is work of value-though indirect.

Work of value happens only through processes and projects.

Now, if you examine what you call as work with help above filters, you may have horror on hand. Much of what passes as work is nothing but reminders, repetitions, repairs, and rework.

One CEO whom I was coaching, told me to reschedule our coaching session due to year end sales pressure. I said, ‘Fine. But what is your Head of Sales doing and why do sales need last minute pushing?” “Oh you know how it is..” The CEO was repeating the work that his head of sales was doing. The head of sales was doing a good turn to the organization. He was repeating what his sales executive was doing or supposed to be doing.

I was walking on a shop floor and I could not spot some supervisors. I peeped in the production manager’s cabin. He was away in stores, I was told. ‘Oh there were errors in the parts received..and the supervisors were busy in the quality department for getting clearances”, I learned from him later.

“We have decided to leverage our factory space and the idle machining capacity by taking up job work” another CEO who was heading a machinery business told me. They had a good product portfolio. “But how did you reach this conclusion? Is that your strategy?”, I asked. “That was not our strategy (till yesterday) but it has become necessary” , was his answer. So they were undoing and trying to repair their own strategy. Their machinery portfolio was crying for attention while they had a good customer base.

Think carefully before you brag or wallow about your work or overwork. You may horror on hand!

If something like the above happens with you or around you, you need to take lead and improvise on you leadership skills and build a good agenda. You can do with some coaching too. You can make a big difference.

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