I’m Their Leader – Which Way Did They Go?

I’m Their Leader – Which Way Did They Go?

How can I insure my team is fully engaged?

An Art of the Question Blog

At our company picnic one year, we got together to buy our boss a new hat. It was a spiffy thing, a brilliant white baseball cap with deep blue accents and a matching bill – actually two bills. One pointed one way, the other pointed a different way. And engraved on the front was the humorous legend reading  I’m Their Boss – Which Way Did They Go?

I say humorous, because our boss was a great leader and we followed his vision and direction willingly. But that experience is seemingly rare for many workers.

I have received so many responses from readers who have finished The Boss.  Along with the wonderfully kind words and encouragement, there have been comments like, “I can understand why you wrote this book about him – what an amazing man!” and “Wow! I never knew a manager like that even existed!”

But perhaps the most telling comment of all was this one: “I wish I could have known The Boss”.

There seems to be a deep sense of longing within many of us to connect with our leadership. We want them to see us, know us, believe in us, support us, and help us grow.  Most of us would love to work for someone like The Boss.

But there are not many like him around, which is part of the problem. Research tells us that many people don’t quit their jobs – they quit their boss! Poor people management is at the core of a significant portion of employee turnover.  Poor communication, staffing issues, lack of challenge, lack of empowerment, feeling as though they aren’t cared for… the list for why we leave our job is long and ugly, and to a degree, debatable.

But there is one thing that is not debatable – the cost of turnover. NFI Research reports that 81% of senior executives say it is more difficult to recruit new employees than to retain valued existing employees. The Wall Street Journal reported that it can cost upwards of two times an employee’s annual salary to find, interview, hire and train a new team member.  Wow!

Those are the direct costs. Add to that the indirect impact of employee churn such as morale of those left behind, workload spread, slippage on projects, and customer service issues and the impact to the business really mounts up.

So, enough of the experts and the research – most of us know all that stuff. But between those findings, and the plaintive “I wish I had known The Boss” we find a bit of magic. It is the best kind of magic – the win/win kind. The company wins, the team member wins – everyone wins. So what is the secret behind the magic?

Glad you asked. It can be summed up in one sentence. The Boss cared.

He cared about the business. He cared about the customer and the customer experience. He cared about the profitability of the enterprise. But running through all that, like a thread stitching the entire thing together, was how much he cared for his team.

He showed it in many ways. Here are a few:

He was engaged – he practiced management by walking around – “earning his MBWA” is how he put it. And his wanderings yielded a lot of good information about how the business was performing, how the customers were reacting, and how his team was doing.

The Boss’s Life Lesson: Every good manager has to earn his or her MBWA

He listened – he found out what was important to his team, personally and professionally. He was able to coach and help them because he had a good understanding of where they were on the learning curve as well as in their personal lives.

The Boss’s Life Lesson: The benefit of helping others outweighs the cost every time

He cared – I know, it sounds trite. But this is arguably the most critical factor in any manager’s success, the most valuable tool in the toolbox.  The Boss understood this. When he noticed Dean’s lack of shoes, and took the time to buy him a new pair, he left an impression that can never be erased.  Here is the principle – when we take the time to know our team members and their life outside the cubicle, they reward our investment with an investment of their own.  We tap into their hearts, not just into their brain.

The Boss’s Life Lesson: Treat Your Team Like Family

He asked questions – The Art of the Question is a powerful way to learn and instruct at the same time. The Boss understood by asking the right questions, he could find out where the gap was in his team’s knowledge and lead them to the right answer. By asking questions instead of barking orders, he created an atmosphere of interest and engagement within the team.

The Boss’s Life Lesson: A good manager can lead someone to the right answer by asking the right question

He challenged – Most employees want to feel challenged in their work. The Boss kept the team challenged through subtle competition within the team.

The Boss’s Life Lesson: When you generate healthy, good-natured competition, everyone wins.       

The stakes are enormous. CNN Money warns businesses, “Your employees can’t wait to quit”. The article goes on to say that according to ManPower, 84% of employees planned to look for a new position last year. The number of employees who planned to look for a new job grew 40% in one year!

Think about the impact of losing a key member of your team. Consider the costs – financial and otherwise. And ask yourself this question: What can I learn from The Boss?

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The Boss is available in softcover, hardback, and audiobook. For more information on The Boss, go to terrynewberry.com.


Sometimes a Life Transcends a Lifetime

Sometimes a Life Transcends a Lifetime

What impact will my life have?

An Art of the Question Blog

 

He died without knowing the impact he made.

I called him The Boss.  He owned the fast food joint where I worked as a young teenager. Like most of my friends, I was just looking to make a buck. Unlike most of my friends, I came away with far more than just money.

He owned a few restaurants, and I worked in one of them after school and on weekends. I thought I was going to learn about making hamburgers and sweeping floors. Instead, I learned about working hard. I learned about business, customer focus, work ethic, integrity…I learned about life.

In the years since, I have held several positions, some of them at executive levels responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars. I have traveled to many places around the world and taught fancy lessons on business and teamwork and leadership and personal growth. I have presented seminars to many people, some of whom spoke a language different from me.

But I have never quite gotten over the lessons that The Boss taught.

The simple truths of his teaching seem to find their way to the forefront of whatever I am teaching. Set goals. Write it down. Work hard. Take care of the customer. Take care of your team. Be honest. Deal with integrity. Be teachable. Listen…these truths echo in my writing, my leadership and my teaching.

For years, I have harbored the thought of writing a book to share the life lessons I learned from The Boss. But there was always something more important. A project to launch, a net income to earn, a person to mentor, a business to run. The months turned to years, and still no book.

But along the way, I was learning. Other mentors came into my life. Team members and customers taught lessons that sharpened me and helped my company to grow and become better. I read wonderful books by amazing business leaders who opened my eyes to new possibilities. I kept growing and learning and teaching.

Last year, all the planets aligned, and the book was born. What started out as homage to The Boss morphed into a tribute to all the teams and leaders I have worked with through the years.

I just received the first hardcover. It was a magical moment, just like the ones all of you have experienced whenever something was birthed in your life after much striving and growing and creating.

And so, Boss, here it is, at last, after so many years. Forgive the delay.  Know that the lessons are as fresh as the day you first introduced them to me. I hope you are looking down, with a smile on your face.

I hope you know you matter. I hope you know that your life transcends your lifetime. I hope you know that I still carry your lessons and celebrate your investment in me.

I hope you know.

Terry

For more information on The Boss, go to terrynewberry.com.


Passion to Perfection

Passion to Perfection

An Art of the Question Blog

Is my passion driving personal excellence?

If you consistently do your best, the worst won’t happen.

–       B.C. Forbes

Things were desperate.

Bill’s daughter was getting married. It was to be the perfect day. The perfect setting, the perfect caterer, the perfect groom – and of course, the perfect daughter. There was just one hitch. Bill needed a tuxedo.

Not just any tux would do. He needed an Armani. He looked everywhere, but could not find an Armani tux. Time was running out.  In desperation, he called his local Nordstrom.

The professional at Nordstrom took his measurements and asked for a little time to work out the logistics of getting the tuxedo. Bill thanked her and left, cautiously hoping for a miracle.

He got a call from the Nordstrom sales person the next afternoon. They had the tux, and were doing the alterations. The tux would be ready very next day! Unbelievable!

The next day, Bill drove to Nordstrom and tried on the tux, which fit perfectly – courtesy of Nordstrom, who did the alterations for free! After searching the entire city for a week for an Armani tuxedo with no success, Bill could not have been more excited. Curious, he asked his Nordstrom personal shopper how they found the tux and got it ready for him so quickly.  She just smiled, and replied, “Magic”.

But Bill wasn’t going to be put off so easily. He kept asking, and finally got the whole story.

As soon as he left the store that first day, she began working the phones. She found the tuxedo. Only one problem – it was in New York – the other side of the continent!

She arranged with her contact in New York to put the tux on a truck which was headed to Chicago. She called the Nordstrom in Chicago and made arrangements for one of the team members there to meet the truck.  From there, they sent the tuxedo overnight to Portland, where Bill lived.

She then coordinated with the alterations team to do a rush job, and do it perfectly, which they did, in time for Bill to pick it up just as they had promised.

And there you have it – magic, Nordstrom style.

Oh, and one more thing. Nordstrom doesn’t sell Armani tuxedos.

Where does that kind of service mindset come from? What made the Nordstrom professional go to such great lengths to find, ship, alter and present an item that their company doesn’t even sell?

It is passion.

In ancient Greece, there was a teacher named Apollos. One of his students was a physician named Luke, who described Apollos as a man “fervent in spirit who spoke and taught accurately”.  The word fervent comes from the Latin  ferventem, and means “boiling hot, glowing.” That is an excellent description of passion.

And notice that it goes on to say that he spoke and taught accurately.  In the Greek, this word is rendered Akribos, and means to be diligent, accurate. perfect and exact.  It means to be excellent.  Passion leads to excellence.

I taught a class recently on passion and personal excellence.  They are linked. Passion gives birth to personal excellence. Passion arises from deep inside us and drives us to do things to the very best of our ability – and beyond. Passion sees no obstacles – it sees only the opportunity. The opportunity to be unique, to serve a customer or a client in ways that absolute blow away all expectations. Passion drives us with a deep fire.

Do you have that kind of passion?

Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding “NO!” from many of us. According to one study (see http://www.blessingwhite.com/eee__report.asp) done by BlessingWhite, only about 1 in 3 employees are engaged in their work.

Think about that for a minute. What if your chances of getting a pilot that paid attention to flying the plane was 1 in 3? Would you get on the plane? Or how about if you knew the doctor who was going to do surgery on you only got it right every third patient? Would you choose a different doctor?

Of course, none of us would get on that plane or go under that knife. But every day, we deal with people who are disengaged, providing a substandard service or product for their customers, their employers, and anyone else who comes into their orbit.

And the interesting thing is this – most of us don’t wake up and say to ourselves, “Today, I am really going to blow it. Today is the day I am going to do the worst job possible! Today I will leave a trail of such poor performance that no one will ever want to hire me again!”

No, but we do something even more damaging. We allow ourselves to be mediocre. Apathetic. Lethargic. Disinterested. Bored. Uncaring. We allow ourselves to just get by, expending the least amount of energy and engagement possible.

Here is the irony! We weren’t created to be that way!  When we do just enough to get by, it robs us of our energy. We were created to be people of passion. When we do a job well, we are energized and excited.

Do you have passion?

In the early 19th century, retail stores were an iffy affair. Poor merchandise, dirty stores, and terrible customer service marked the landscape of the retail world. But one entrepreneur didn’t buy in to the standard set by many. He had passion. He wanted to do it better, and he knew he could set himself and his organization apart from the crowd.

His name was Marshall Field. When he launched Marshall Field and Company in 1881, he immediately raised the bar for the rest of the retail world. He gave his customers a guarantee and the right to return merchandise. He offered credit. He even put a restaurant in his department store for customers!  He was passionate about his work, and it led to excellence in what he gave to others.

He put it this way.

“To do the right thing, at the right time, in the right way; to do some things better than they were ever done before; to eliminate errors; to know both sides of the question; to be courteous; to be an example; to work for the love of work; to anticipate requirements; to develop resources; to recognize no impediments; to master circumstances; to act from reason rather than rule; to be satisfied with nothing short of perfection.”

Do I have passion? Is it leading to personal excellence?

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Coming soon! Psalm/One Press presents the new book by Terry D. Newberry, The Boss. For more information, go to terrynewberry.com, click on the page for The Boss.


It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! No, Wait – It’s Ed!

Could That Be A Hero?

An Art of the Question Blog

 

I think he was Superman.

It all started pretty normally.  He was born in a small town in Mississippi, one of nine children. From early in his life, he knew he wanted to be a military man.  He fulfilled his dream, serving in both the US Navy and the Army.  In fact, he joined the Navy and served in WW II before he ever graduated high school!

After the war, he went back home, and completed his high school degree, and then it was off to the service again – this time the US Army. He fought in Korea, and survived the Battle of Pork Chop Hill, in which 257 of his fellow soldiers died.  Only 14 men survived the first skirmishes.  14 out of 271.  Like I said – Superman.

During that battle, he received a battlefield commission promoting him to second lieutenant. He turned around and immediately led his men back up the hill, back into the thick of combat. He had neither the time nor the luxury of fear or hesitation.  Ed W. “Too Tall” Freeman was a hero. A true, honest-to-goodness American hero.

Ed always wanted to be a pilot, but he exceeded the height limitations. He was “too tall” for pilot duties – hence the nickname.  But Ed wasn’t one to give up easily on his dreams. He had joined the military and served in two branches and two wars because that’s what he wanted to do.  He trusted that things would work out as they should. And sure enough, in 1955 the height limits were changed, and Ed became a pilot.  He fulfilled his dream, and learned to fly. 

I’m telling you, he was Superman.

Isn’t it interesting how some people seem to be guided and set aside for a particular task or time? It’s as though their calling – their passion – is a spark, an engine and a homing device, all in one, that moves them into their perfect place. That’s how it was with Ed.

Think about it. Like I said, he survived a two-year assignment on the USS Cacapon during WWII. He then survived the Battle of Pork Chop Hill, beating the odds in which 271 men went in, and only 14 came out. And now, inexplicably, the height limit for pilot training was raised, and Ed realized his dream of becoming an aviator.  

But perhaps there was something else at work here. Although Ed was already a hero, he was about to become the stuff of legend 

The date was November 11. The year was 1967.  Ed W. Freeman was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. He was nine days shy of his 40th birthday. 

The area around LZ (Landing Zone) X-ray was hot. US Forces were surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy nearly 8-to-1. The brass on the ground had instructed that all helicopters were to clear the area – including the MedEvac teams.  

There were wounded men – teen-aged boys, really – in the middle of that hell, watching the choppers peel off, one by one, each turn of the rotor taking them further away from the wounded and damned. The boys huddled on the ground, perhaps praying for a quick end, knowing the situation was hopeless. 

         

And then Ed showed up.

Flying a lightly armored, unarmed UH-1 Huey, he landed in the middle of that maelstrom of enemy fire, taking hits.  And waiting. Waiting for some of those teenagers to be loaded onboard so that he could fly them to safety.

Again and again he returned, his chopper pocked with bullet holes, the Perspex windows cracked and broken, smoke billowing from the motor. Fourteen times he dropped into that caldron of Hell, until he had flown every wounded soldier to safety – all 30-plus of them. He sustained four bullet wounds during the extraction. 

Ed Freeman was Superman. Ed Freeman was an American warrior. Ed Freeman was a hero.

He retired as a Major in the US Army, and went home to his wife and two sons.  When he got home, I wonder how many people passed him on the street, or saw him in the market, or sold him a car or socks or fishing gear, never knowing how close they were to a living legend.  How many people greeted him at the Post Office and never realized that he had his very own Post Office – the one in his hometown had been named after him! Or maybe they saw him at the grocery store, unaware of the scars he bore in his body from bullet holes, unaware of the magnificent spirit contained in that aging body. Unaware.

How many sensed the man he was? How many knew the truth of his bravery?  I know of at least 30 young men who were keenly aware.  I wonder what those 30 young men rescued by Ed on that November day did with their lives?

I wish I could have met Ed “Too Tall” Freeman. I would like to have had a glass of iced tea with him. Not to talk about the war or his heroic exploits, but just to meet the man whose spirit was so powerful that it transcended risk or danger – or even death.  Yes, death. Because Ed passed away a few years ago. His passing went relatively unnoticed, which seems wrong to me. It seems that there should have been silence and fanfare and weeping and flags flown at half mast, and maybe even a disturbance in “the force”. Because Ed was a hero. But even Superman can die.

How many heroes do we meet every day, unaware of the immensity of their spirit cloistered in a body that has become old and frail.  How much we owe these silent men and women, how much respect is due them. They have a story to tell and wisdom to share, and courage to inspire.

Learning about Ed made me want to be a better person. It made me, in some small  way, want to be a hero to someone. Oh, don’t get me wrong – I’m not thinking of anything like Ed did. But maybe something simple. Maybe, at the end of the day, our most powerful days are those when we are able to make a difference in the life of someone else.

And boy, we could use some of those things right now.  We need a few more Supermen. We need a few more “Ed’s”.


What Do I See?

What Do I See?

An Art of the Question Blog

The most important thing a captain can do is to see the ship from the eyes of the crew.

         Captain D. Michael Abrashoff

It has been called the “Best Ship in the Navy”. But that wasn’t always the case.

The USS Benfold is one of the most technologically advanced ships on the deep.  Her crew had amazing potential. But as one leader pointed out, “potential” sometimes just means you haven’t done anything yet. Once crisp and focused, the crew had fallen into a quagmire of low morale and even lower performance. The Benfold’s scores routinely missed the expectations set by the Navy.

Captain D. Michael Abrashoff was placed in command of this substandard vessel. From the outset, he focused his efforts on molding the ship and her crew into the team of warriors that he knew they could be.

He was driven by the belief that there is always a better way to do things. He understood his crew knew better than anyone else the answers to the questions and issues that plagued the Benfold, crippling her performance. She was designed to be one of the fastest and most lethal warships ever to set sail, but instead she languished in mediocrity. Abrashoff was convinced the key to unlocking the ultimate performance lay in the hearts and minds of his team.

Captain Abrashoff believes that the best thing a leader can do is see the organization through the eyes of his team members. So that is what he did.

He wanted to make sure the crew knew that they were important to him, to the members of their team, and to the Navy.  He began by making it a point to meet every crew member of the USS Benfold and find out what was on their mind. What he heard was not encouraging.  Many of them couldn’t wait to finish their time and get the heck out of the Navy.

They felt that no one listened to them. They felt that they couldn’t have a positive impact on their environment. They wanted to do more, they wanted to be more. They wanted to be warriors, but they felt as though no one respected them.

He asked for their feedback. He listened.

His response was immediate and fully engaged. He began a systematic review of the things that needed to be fixed, and began to address them. From installing stainless steel rivets (instead of painting over rusted ones) to cross training the sailors, he made changes.  He focused on broadening the individual’s experience, value to the Navy, and sense of importance. He even sent the ship’s cooks to culinary school!

He created an environment in which his crew knew they mattered and were critical to the success of the team and the mission. He created an environment in which the crew could take pride in their work, their ship – and themselves.

Captain Abrashoff understood that the old model of “do what I say because I say so” would not work. Instead, his focus on listening, seeing, and recognition paid off. The USS Benfold went from being a marginal performer to being one of the top performing vessels in the fleet.

“The more I thanked them for their hard work, the harder they worked,” he reported.  In place of the traditional command hierarchy and approach, Abrashoff put into place an empowerment mentality.

He put his experiences on paper in It’s Your Ship, sharing his approach to leadership in areas of Communication, Trust, Listening, and Leading by Example. This is an excellent book that I highly recommend.

Captain Abrashoff has spent the last few years working with business, corporations, and individual leaders. His insight into the Business world is sharp and engaging.

From his work with corporate leaders, he has written an amazing follow-up book, It’s Our Ship. It is an insightful, no-nonsense discussion about some of the most critical issues facing companies and leaders today. Trust, Ethics, acceptance of personal responsibility, support and recognition are foundational to the success of any organization, and this book does a masterful job of sharing how these touchstones can create success in our business and our life.

Do I see what my customers see?

Do I see what my team sees?

Do I see what my competition sees?

Do I see the future?

Do I see the plan to address what I find as I look through the eyes of my customer, my team and my competition?

What do I see?

 


Explosion or Erosion?

Explosion or Erosion?

How can I stay sharp?

An Art of the Question Blog

I admit that Post-it note sheets that adhere to virtually any surface are now my substitute of choice for retention.

                                                                             -Candice Bergen

 

It was one of the largest studies of its kind ever done. It was led by professors from Penn State, and involved over 3,000 people from six cities across the U.S..  People in this five-year study were assigned at random to training sessions involving memory, mental reasoning, or speed of mental processes. The results were so telling that they were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the speed training group, nearly 90% showed immediate improvement as a result of the exercises they did. The reasoning group and the memory group showed improvement as well.

Bottom line was this – completing at least 10 sessions helped keep the participant’s brains sharp.

The old adage advises, “Use it or lose it!” Based on this study, that may be good advice!

We have all experienced it. We learn a new skill, but don’t have the opportunity to use it on a regular basis. When we try to exercise our ability, we find that we have forgotten some – if not all – of the steps or technique required.

The ability to learn and retain new information is more critical than ever. Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, said that we now create as much information in two days as we did from the dawn of man through 2003. I read recently that a single Sunday Times has more information than the average villager would get in a lifetime during the Middle Ages.

We spend tremendous amounts of time absorbing information, learning new tasks, gaining new insight, developing new relationships. We invest heavily on the front end to master the discipline or learn the ropes of the new endeavor. But over time, unless we frequently tap into that knowledge, we may suffer the loss of what we learned. I call it erosion.

Most of us don’t lose our skills or knowledge overnight (explosion), but rather through a slow process (erosion).

How does this affect us in our career, our leadership, or our personal life? And how can we build a process for retaining what we have gained?

According to the National Training Laboratories (NTL), the most effective way to absorb and retain information is to do and teach others. The NTL estimates up to 90% of information is retained when the learner uses the information immediately and shares it with others.

The second most effective retention tool is to practice doing the activity or task.

The least effective learning/retention process is lecture, and yet for most of us, that is the primary way we access information. A lecture can be verbal or written, but based on research done by the NTL, we retain only around 5% of the information when we rely on lecture alone.

Dale’s Cone of Experience also deals with learning and retention. According to this study, people generally remember:

10% of what they read

20% of what they hear

30% of what they see

50% of what they hear and see

70% of what they say and write

90% of what they do

Both studies show that the best way – by far – to learn and retain knowledge is to do and teach.

Here are five ways to help improve your retention and effectiveness:

1)   Mentor someone – as soon as you begin to learn new information or processes, make it a point to teach it to someone else.

2)   Write it down – many of us are visual, and seeing things in writing helps us to retain them. Practice the 3-step Read, Recap and Review process. Read it, recap it verbally, and then review it periodically.

3)   Repeat it often – for the first few days after learning the new information, write it down and practice going through the steps. The process of repetition helps increase our brain’s ability to absorb and retain the data.

4)   Have a cheat sheet – when you are learning, draw a diagram of the process, or make step-by-step notes. When you meet someone new, or are learning more about them, make notes. Keep a record of names of children, birth dates, hobbies and other things in your contact list. Maintain a reference file for those processes that you don’t do frequently.

5)   Develop a rotation process – if there is a process or some information that you don’t use often, put it in a rotation. Make a note on your calendar to review the process or information on a regular basis to keep it fresh.

What can I do to improve my retention of information? 

If you like this blog, please comment and forward to your friends!

Visit terrynewberry.com


25 Hours in A Day

25 Hours in a Day

How can I better manage my time?

An Art of the Question Blog

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.

–          Ben Franklin

Sometimes the math doesn’t work out.

The ancient Egyptians discovered that their calendar didn’t always jibe with the solar system. It seems the sun moved according to its own timetable. It meandered on its circular way, unmindful of the havoc it was wreaking with calendar life here on planet earth, taking 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes – well, you get the picture. Those pesky solar systems….

Anyway, no worries – the Egyptians just added to the calendar! And it was one of those win-win situations, because they wound up with an extra day! Wow! How cool would that be?  An extra free day, free time to catch up on reading, take a nap, finish that project – whatever! Hey, wait a minute – we have that free day too! We call it leap year, and it comes around every year that is divisible by four (except years that are divisible by 100, unless they are divisible by 400…never mind! Like we said before, sometimes the math doesn’t work!)

Today is February 29. This is 2012, a leap year. The next one won’t come around until 2016 (by the way, that will be a Monday – I recommend that you take a long weekend!)

But back to our topic. Free time.

Even the words are beautiful. Free time. Time to spend with family or finally read that latest business book or novel.  Time to do something crazy with friends. Time to wash the dog or paint that landscape you’ve been seeing in your mind’s eye. Time to take a long drive in the country or nap in the hammock. Time.

The Greeks had two words for time, Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is the concept of linear time – what our clocks and watches measure. When we talk about time management, it is most often this concept we are discussing.

Kairos is different. It deals with the quality of time. This is the concept we are referring to when we ask someone, “Did you have a good time?” There is an interesting dynamic at work here. Our struggles with Chronos are often aimed at having more Kairos.

So what is the key to getting everything done? First, we must understand that we really do have all the time we need!

William Penn said, “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” We often feel that we need more time, when the problem is that we just need to learn how to use our time more wisely. What are some ways that we don’t use time wisely? Perhaps we don’t plan well, so we have to go back to the store again. Or back to the office to retrieve something we left. Or we neglect to write it down, so we buy the wrong size, or brand, or color. We may listen to too much radio, and watch too much TV. It has been estimated that the average American sees or hears over 500 ads a day! Perhaps we don’t eat right or exercise enough, so we are always tired. The list could go on.

We must understand that we have to control our time, rather than letting it control us. One key to this is prioritization.

Prioritization is knowing how to rank the items which you have to do. A powerful tool to help in this area is to have some system in place. For me, making a “to do” list works wonders! When I am overwhelmed with things to do, it helps me to capture them all and put them in order. You can use paper, Outlook, Task-management software, your iPhone, whatever works best for you. The key is to find a system and use it consistently. Something about putting things in order and writing them down helps us to organize our thoughts. It calms us and helps us think more clearly. That makes the tasks seem a little more achievable. Begin your day with a list, and check off items as you accomplish them.

A couple of pointers may help here. First, don’t overwhelm yourself with a list of things to do today that is so large you couldn’t finish if you had a week! Write all the tasks down, and then prioritize what must be done today. Once you’ve done that, rank them in order for that day. One of the most important keys is that all-important check mark! Looking at those checks by the items we complete gives us a sense of accomplishment and momentum!

Another powerful tool is delegation. John D. Rockefeller said, “I would rather earn 1% off 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own.” There is a lot of wisdom in that thought. Effective delegation is one of the most powerful time management and efficiency tools, and it is applicable to all of us, whether we are stay at home moms, volunteers, or corporate executives.

Here, briefly, are some of the other tricks and tips for more effective time management. For the complete article with more great tips on effective time management, email us at terrydnewberry@bellsouth.net and request You Have All The Time You Need! No charge! This one’s on us.

Remember –

1) Plan ahead regarding how you spend your time.

2) Make a “to-do” list. Prioritize the items on your list. Mark them off as they are completed, and reprioritize as new items come up.

3) Create routines for yourself.

4) Delegate when appropriate.

5) Plan ahead for specific errands or trips.  Have a purpose in mind for what you are doing, and know what your goal or outcome is. Coordinate your time. For instance, if the dry cleaner is on the way to the grocery store, plan to visit both on the same trip.

6) Schedule time for yourself. In our age of frantic activity, noise and distraction, it is more important than ever to have time alone to think, plan and reflect.

7) Set deadlines! Accomplishments are dreams with deadlines!

Each of us has the same amount of minutes in each day. The difference is in how we use them!

Remember, for the complete article with more great tips on effective time management, email us at terrydnewberry@bellsouth.net and request your free copy of  You Have All The Time You Need!

Am I using my time wisely?

What 3 things can I do to improve how I use time?

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