Trapped In Busyness

by Jay Deragon on 08/10/2012


“We are too busy to implement new methods because we are consumed  with 
chasing problems caused by the old methods”

The most common excuse management makes about not changing their thinking, the organization processes and the overall strategy is they are too busy. The number one thing  holding organizational progress back is the “doing the same thing over and over” thus  diluting the managing”. Thus they don’t ever get around to really considering and implementing strategically important change initiatives.  Stuck in the wrong perpetual cycle the organization spirals downward.

Does any of this sound remotely familiar to you? 

An organization cannot reach a better future unless management learns to focus on doing important things productively.

In a well-known study about productivity and multi-tasking (from a 1990’s Harvard Study by Steven C.Wheelwright and Kim B.Clark), two researchers showed the benefits of multitasking – but only in situations where the subject worked on two things at once. Any more than two, and productivity declined. A lot.    So which task should management focus on?

Is It Urgent Or Important?

While every manager faces urgent issues on a daily basis the only way to reduce the urgent is to focus on the important. By focusing on the important one would expectit reduces the occurance of urgent issues because management is improving the processes that created the urgent. If a manager spends most of his/her time on urgent matters that is a clear sign that the function of management is not functioning.

The definition of management has been described as a social process involving responsibility for economical and effective planning & regulation of operation of an enterprise in the fulfillment of given purposes.  If too much time is spent dealing with urgent matters than management cannot manage towards a purpose other than “whac-a- mole”.

One simple fact divides effective and ineffective managers: effective managers spend the majority of their time working on important rather than urgent things.  When managers say “I don’t have time for the important” what they are really saying is “I don’t know how to manage but I am good at jumping around like a Mexican bean.”

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