When I unlock my iPhone, there is a red and white colored app on the right side of my home bar. I click on this app every time I start or stop an activity I’m working on. I use the app Toggl to track every minute of work I do in a day. I’m conducting an experiment. My hypothesis: I spend time differently than I think I do.
“Effectiveness is a discipline. And, like every discipline, effectiveness can be learned and must be earned.” Discussing individual effectiveness, Peter Drucker believed that high intelligence is abundant but execution is scarce. Peter added that “…insights become effectiveness only through hard systematic work.”
The location and surroundings of a place
Busyness is not the same as productivity. A lot of activity may look productive but it’s often correlation without causation. Much like ice cream consumption appears to causes crime rate increases. I struggle with the perception that putting in long hours means you are a high performer. The busiest people I work with are often the most ineffective and their activities are low leverage. Focusing on meaningful work is like the tortoise putting one foot in front of the other while the hare runs fast and haphazardly. Representativeness leads us to believe that seeing someone in their seat makes the effective. We perceive what we see is all there is.
We have been fooled to think efficiency is meaningful. The ability to do things right does not help you get the right things done. At the end of the day, efficiency makes you feel good, but you’ve limited yourself to linear progression. The long work is finite.
A circumstance that complicates something; a difficulty
“The organization is an abstraction… unreal compared to the reality of the environment in which it exists.” The organization is not tangible yet it’s required to work within it to achieve. We are expected to use our creativity to move ideas forward. slowly influencing others to row in a common direction. Only when everyone is on the same boat, and rowing together, does anything get done.
Getting things done is not enough. We need to get the right things done.
We are, “…responsible for a contribution that materially affects the capacity of the organization to perform and to obtain results.” I can’t just take orders, I must be responsible for the outcomes and my own contributions. Not only that, I must influence others to contribute to a common goal. My value is in the ability to affect how the organization performs.
Managing the complexity of an organization of humans is similar to managing the human body. Each part has both an independent function and a tie to the whole. The secondary affects of any decision makes the organization, like the organism, a complex – rather than complicated – system. Simply showing up and putting in the hours can never produce the desired outcome.
A means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation
How do I regain control and become successful? I must create value, through effective action.
Effectiveness, in other words, is a habit; that is, a complex of practices. And practices can always be learned. Practices are simple, deceptively so; even a seven year old has no difficulty in understanding a practice. But practices are exceedingly hard to do well.Peter Drucker
There are 5 practices I focus on to regain control. Understand where time goes. Focus on contributing to the organization. Focus on my strengths and prioritize. Get decisive and make conscious decisions that align strengths and priorities.
Do not believe that the leaders you admire were born with their ability to be effective. There is no irreducibility from our calendar and our actions. We all have the same amount of time every day. It’s the practices and mindsets that define us.
The 5 practices:
- Know where your time goes – Manage your minutes like you manage your money
- Focus on outward contributions – Work on results rather than activity
- Build on strengths – Start with opportunities rather than problems
- Prioritize – The 80/20 rule
- Make effective decisions – Make the right decisions
These elements are essential to performance in any organization. Without them, we are a ship wandering at sea with no direction.