Consider the following tale of two managers who wanted to be effective.
– – –
In quest of being effective, Peter tried doing too many things at a time. He jumped into every crisis and in the process, spread himself too thin. His priorities kept on changing in line with changing demands of workplace. He also tried delegating things down, but since he did not have time to communicate enough while delegating, all problems eventually stopped at his desk. He got dragged and could hardly find time to do his own work. Working 12+ hours a day became a norm – for him effectiveness meant constant rush of adrenalin while putting out fires.
– – –
Jack wanted to be effective too. He began with an end in mind. He wrote down the answer to a question, “What are three critical areas of work that I focus my energies on, and that if done well in next one year, will bring about a big difference?” He created three broad task categories in his Outlook Task Manager and ensured that each task he undertakes falls in either of these three categories. For all other tasks, he used delegation by communicating effectively. He learned to said ‘No’ and to explain the rationale’ behind it. He focused his energies on few critical areas and did really well.
– – –
Needless to say, Peter lived in an illusion of being effective (and did more harm to his physical and mental health) where as Jack was really effective. The difference between Peter and Jack was that of focus, of clarity in purpose, of results they generated and of their understanding of what effectiveness really means.