I've heard a saying in the leadership and management consulting arena. You can provide reminders as an example of effective time management skills and the value of creating checklists and systems, but you will encounter those who see these reminders as your commitment to managing their time. Choose wisely.
Earlier today, I read a colleague's thoughts about how we spend our time and the excuses we make when we don't want to engage a decision or challenge ourselves with a different path. He mentioned television - oh that great distraction - as a common patsy used by those who claim they don't have enough time.
There is no telly in our home. We run or have an interest in seven businesses, participate in a variety of civic/social/professional activities, and are raising a very demanding child. When we say we don’t have time, it’s not a throwaway justification for wanting to vegetate in front of the tube. We are prioritising.
Because of our commitments, time management skills are critical to our existence. So is remaining clear on what’s important and meaningful. As a result, we are adept at moving pieces around on the board to achieve what is of interest and value (to us). Sometimes what a third party deems important won't make the cut, but it doesn't mean we can't appreciate its significance in the multiverse for others.
What matters to you, and how do you make it happen?
The majority of those who make the decision to serve on nonprofit boards will have the best interests of the organisation at heart. Excitement about joining is at its highest peak, and the mind races with the possibilities of what can be achieved with the team. What usually works best is to under promise and over deliver so results are magnified and expectations, managed.
Unfortunately, too many board members sign up for a list of initiatives and actions, then fizzle out and deliver a marginal work product - or nothing at all. Not only does this frustrate board chairs and other active members, but it can set operations back weeks or months, sometimes more.
The saying ’If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it‘ is one of those truths which initially seems counterintuitive. ‘Wouldn’t you want to instead give it to the person with more time on their hands?’ you might ask. Until one realises there’s a good reason busy people are in high demand. It’s not because they’re circus freaks who enjoy performing the octopus juggle; they’re the sort willing to make sacrifices, go the extra mile, and ensure the vision is executed. Failure, for them, is simply not an option – and because they are busy, it’s likely they’ll appreciate the value of time, theirs and others, and not want to waste it.
While tempting to stack the board with those who claim they can devote time because they’re not busy, consider that once they find a new job or the going gets tough, there will suddenly be more reasons for their unavailability or failure to produce. That isn’t to say, however, many retirees or otherwise more available candidates can’t bring excellence and quality input to the board, because many do.
There is, of course, a caveat. Too much dumping on high performers becomes an ultimately destructive habit. They’ll burn out, become resentful, or the occasional thing might slip through the cracks. If this member is the
organisation’s leader, this can lead to self-protective actions which result in unfair charges of Founders Syndrome, and incites a cycle of criticism from directors trying to deflect or hide their own lackluster contributions.
Delegating and involving other team members is a well-rounded approach which strengthens and empowers the board to successfully represent the entity and its community base. It also pays to calibrate or reframe so members are recruited who can successfully gauge their contributions, and use well-developed time management skills to ensure commitments translate into real and meaningful work.
-From "How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Nonprofit Hell"
Brecht Vandenbroucke, New York Times
The ‘Busy’ Trap By TIM KREIDER
While reading this New York Times blog, I was reminded of working in New York City back in the 80s and 90s when being busy was a badge of cool...a form of bragging about how important one was. Ironically, I was too busy to participate in the game, and just went about getting things done.
Fast forward to 2012 and it appears it's back - if it ever really left. And still, all I can think of is how important it is to have effective time management skills so there's available time to play...not just work. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
Are you wearing the badge? If so, why?