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In Defense of Time

By Erica Olsen

In Defense of Time

At its core, everything we do and everything we talk about in the world of strategy and execution is about one thing – directing time. As leaders, we direct our teams and organizations towards a bigger future, away from mediocrity (or worse). Time, and how we spend it, is a perishable commodity. Some of us have more than others, but one thing is for certain – once it‘s gone, you can never get it back.

Certainly time (or lack thereof) becomes more acute when you can see the proverbial sand running through the hourglass, such as with personal illness and health crises. Our focus becomes laser-sharp on where to spend time and where to let go. On a personal level, it means spending as much time with loved ones, doing what you love to do together, and enjoying every moment.

On a business level, managers create focus with goals, action plans, performance measures and bonuses. While such systems certainly help, all of us can attest too much time is being wasted because it is impossible to direct every minute. It’s unreasonable to micromanage your organization’s time, but it’s an asset that you should certainly acknowledge and, at minimum, articulate the importance of.

So, as leaders, how do we direct our team’s time towards those difference makers and away from time sucks?  Maybe we should focus on doing more of the things we love and less of the things we don’t, such as:

  • Delivering legitimate results that delight our customers
  • Designing something new or innovative
  • Simplifying and eliminating "administrivia"
  • Solving a team member’s problem
  • Mentoring and inspiring the next generation on our team
  • Closing a big deal
  • <What you love to do here>

Many organizations draw the line in the sand between personal and professional life. But, maybe if that line was blurred ever so slightly, we might be able to engage our teams to see better results, have stronger team and client relationships, and truly enjoy every moment of life. Certainly, business isn’t simple. But, in defense of time, don’t waste it. Life is made of small moments.

In loving memory of Michelle Grinsel. You really did make the world a better place!

Erica Olsen

Erica Olsen is the COO and a co-founder of OnStrategy. She has developed the format and the user interface for the award-winning OnStrategy on-line strategic management system. In addition, she is the author of Strategic Planning Kit for Dummies, 2nd Edition. Erica has developed and reviewed hundreds of strategic plans for public and private entities across the country and around the world. She is a lecturer at University of Nevada Reno and University of Phoenix. She holds a BA in Communications and an MBA in International Management.




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