A new outlook on time management

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Time is critical in modern organizations. We have so little of it that, like any other precious commodity, we need to manage it effectively. Still, when people started noticing time shortage, they started looking for ways to use it more sensibly: they started looking at time management. Like gasoline, time is a finite resource. Yet, the gas meter starts blinking only when it matters. With time, we get constant reminders of the lack of it.

The great benefit of time management tools is that they set a framework. Using the gasoline example, time management tools tell you how to adapt your driving/working style to the conditions. They also give you feedback on how much of a gas/energy and stress guzzler you and your organization are. But the noticeable difference is that while you can turn off your car, you cannot turn off time.

People in organization tend -it is a big « tend »- to think more on a symptomatic, linear and causal way. In other words: « If this happens and we want to change it, all we need to do it change what causes it, and « voilà! » Except that there are major limitations to this.

The most obvious one is the contextual benefits of the time management tools. We cannot expect them to work everywhere and all the time. The tools that are around are fantastic, and some of them do change peoples’ lives. Another limit is linked to the fact that time management improvements are always under attack. Benefits often do not last, because more demands are made and time gets sucked away -and so does the energy of the person trying to cope.

We need to repeat the obvious: we are in the second decade of the twenty-first century. A long time ago, in the 80’s and 90’s, we could take care of things in a « if-then » and « plan, do, review » way. That was nice. But it will not happen any more. This is a complex world and time is not what it used to be. The ever increasing connectivity creates opportunities for complex events to emerge in the most improbable ways and places. This means that control cannot be the way it used to be. The pressing challenge is that organizations tend to look at control the way they did it twenty years ago. And it feels like trying to use horse carriage for express mail delivery.

Lack of time has a tremendous impact in terms of stress. This is a huge cost for the organizations who tend to counter it with more procedures, which require more time… and so on. Trying to fix all the symptoms of organizational acceleration with tricks and tips has its limits. In the end, it can even become frustrating and exhausting. And this is exactly what organizations want to avoid. There are places where we haven’t looked enough yet. Here a just a few: Slow people down so they can dream and innovate, instead of forcing them to hear a sound whenever an email arrives in their box. Or give more control at the individual level and more responsibility, instead of believing that people at the top know better. Really ask why we are doing the things we do the way we do them, and for what reason. This last point alone can help destroy huge chunks of time thieves that were so powerful and ever present that no one notices them any more.

In modern organizations, we need to go beyond an operational view of time usage and develop a behavioral and conceptual approach of time usage. Organizations derive immense benefits by engaging their people to become more aware of themselves and the ultimate efficiency of their actions. It allows to get rid of useless stuff and procedures; it creates space for new opportunities and new relationships. Indeed, today’s time management has become counter-intuitive.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width= »1/1″][vc_empty_space height= »32px »][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width= »1/1″][dt_quote type= »blockquote » font_size= »normal » background= »plain » animation= »none »]Stephane Baillie-GeeStephane Baillie-Gee est consultant et formateur dans les domaines liés au changement et à la vision systémique des organisations. Il partage son temps entre l’Europe et la Chine et intervient régulièrement en interculturel pour des entreprises multinationales. Son expérience professionnelle s’étend sur trois continents. Son centre d’intérêt principal est le développement des personnes et des organisations en milieu complexe.
Stephane utilise une large gamme d’outils collaboratifs et systémiques pour permettre aux participants d’accéder à leurs ressources. Certifié en MBTI et en thérapies psychocorporelles, il organise un cadre confortable et ludique dont émergent des solutions innovantes.
Il intervient pour IFE Benelux dans des domaines tels que : team coachings, team building, séminaires de communication, et gestion du temps systémique.

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