Gravel, rocks, sand and water. What do those items have to do with managing your time? And what is time management all about? Here’s a crash course, with just enough information and three important Time Management methods, for you to start creating your own strategy for better handling your 2,400 minute work week.
Lifestyles are becoming increasingly hectic. Lean business design, and the flattening of organizations, have led to new levels of complexity in the workplace. Because of these factors, effectively running on what never seems to be enough time, has become a “make or break” activity for people across all segments of life, including athletes, executives, line workers, soldiers, students, politicians, and parents.
Decades ago, an idea was presented by President Dwight D. Eisenhower which became commonly known as the Eisenhower Method. This practice began with a memorable statement from our 34th President: “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” Using the Eisenhower Method, tasks are evaluated and designated into four categories as follows: delegated; dropped; completed personally and immediately; or completed personally and with a deadline.
Later, in his book entitled First Things First, Steven Covey introduced a concept similar to the Eisenhower Model. Covey’s approach is widely used today, and is best explained through a hands on demonstration using a container in which is first placed gravel, then rocks, then sand, and finally water. The grid below is depictive of the theory, without the mess:
Similar to The Eisenhower Method, tasks are assigned a quadrant where they are most appropriately executed. Covey has included a deeper analysis of how to effectively distribute your time based upon the quadrants. For example, the recommendation of many time management experts is to spend 45% of your time attending to the tasks relegated to the upper left-hand box labelled “Important/Urgent”. Additionally, 35 % of your time should be focused on the upper right-hand box labelled “Important/Low Urgency”. What now remains is 20% of your daily 1,440 minutes to be spent on the bottom quadrants. 15% should be spent working on the lower left hand box, or the “Not Important/Urgent” items. The final 5% of your time could now be devoted to the remaining tasks, which have already been recognized as neither important nor urgent. Eisenhower, always every bit the general, grouped matters such as trivia, pleasant activities and time wasters into this box, and followed with the ruling that these tasks be abandoned.
The next step after learning Time Management theory and understanding the box approach, is to decide more specifically what tasks and occurrences are comprising your day, and then placing those tasks into the appropriate quadrant. In brief, the list below combines recommendations from several theories, including Covey’s and Eisenhower’s:
GRAVEL—crises, deadlines, problems, some meetings
ROCKS—planning, thinking, relationship building, recreation
SAND—visitors, mail, telephone calls, meetings, interruptions
WATER—trivia, pleasant activities, “escape” activities, chat rooms
Finally, another expert in the field is Dr. Jon Warner, who has advanced a list of competencies associated with time management skills. Dr. Warner, in the following quote, describes our 1,440 minutes per day as if it were money in the bank: “Every night, our “time bank” writes off as lost whatever we have failed to invest in a good purpose. It carries no balance forward and allows no overdrafts. Each new day, it opens a new account with us, and each night it burns the record for the day. If we fail to use the day’s deposit, the loss is all ours. There is no going back, no drawing against tomorrow. We must live in the present—on today’s deposit. Invest in it to get the utmost in health, happiness, education, and service, and anything else that is valuable to you”.
Warner has identified and developed seven competencies in his Time Management Effectiveness Profile. The Profile scores an individual on each level of skill, in each competency, and from there one can create a personal action plan aimed at improving the areas that have been determined to be challenging. Using the assessment findings and the tools provided in The Profile, the individual now has the ability to collectively and generally improve his or her time management practices and results. Below are the seven Warner competencies:
- Organizational Ability
- Managing Interruptions
- Stress Management
- Results Orientation
What happens when you more effectively manage your time? The benefits include higher productivity at work, decreased levels of work-related stress, the ability to focus on a deeper level, and the discovery of new (and often more efficient) ways to approach your profession. Companies that implement time management training have also discovered deeper levels of innovation as well as increased employee engagement, which is a critical element in today’s business environment. Superb time management skills are essential for today’s executives. This topic is one segment in Currie Management Consultants, Inc.’s one-year long Leadership Development Program. The Currie team also offers it as part of our Building Effective Leadership and Management Skills Seminar, which is a two-day workshop at the Currie Training Center. Both of those offerings can be found by visiting this link to The Currie Training Center. For more information on Time Management, or other essential skill topics, please give us a call at 508-752-9229.
If you haven’t yet registered for the Currie Conference, click here, find out more, and get signed up!!
This month’s Currie Client Spotlight is on David Griffith, who we love working with at Modern Group, Ltd. I’m a big fan of Dave’s Muddy Boots Blog, in which he becomes teacher, coach, and an inspirational leader. He is a community and church leader, and his accomplishments are truly in keeping with the values we, at Currie, and almost all of our clients, hold dear. Here’s a quote from Mr. Griffith’s profile, which is the essence of what I love most about his work:
“Leadership is hard, and it is rewarding. It is about doing the right thing, not the popular thing. It is about being confident in yourself and wise enough to take the advice of those you trust. It is about understanding the facts, not the emotion. It is about being fair to all, not just a few. It is about courage and vision. It is about humor and humility.”
David, please keep writing! And thank you.
Currie Management Consultants, Inc.’s two-day, multi-industry conference
Why should you register for Leadership from the Inside Out? This is an event for top performers to collaborate with other North American Industry Leaders! This is a multi-industry conference and will combine “movers and shakers” from the following fields: Farm Equipment, Transport Refrigeration, Material Handling, Power Generation, Commercial Tire, Construction Equipment, Utility Vehicles and others. Join The Currie Team as we come together to share insights, best practices, challenges, victories, philosophies* and more. Register Today!! (*Remember this year’s Reading List Theme: The Philosophy of Distribution—click here for The List!)
Breakout Session IEE: Improved Employee Engagement. This breakout group is led by Michelle Currie and will focus on the topic of engagement, and how it applies to your distribution company. Why do we need to know this?
- Studies show that companies with employees who are not engaged, using the traditional definition, are at higher risk for dips in productivity.
- Employees with low engagement scores are more frequently absent.
- Employee turnover is higher in companies with low employee engagement.
- When engagement is low, customer service standards are more likely to decline.
The Currie Team will present comprehensive information about Engagement, and the drivers of engagement: Enablement, and Energy. These items make up the formula for a highly successful workforce, in an age where we cannot afford to be otherwise. Lean is here to stay, along with the critical practice of talent management, and the need for great leadership. The Currie Team will skillfully guide participants through several important concepts to help create and sustain the engagement model within your organization, and your results will include increased retention and improved productivity. What else can we expect from enhancing our company’s employee engagement?
- Engaged employees believe in the company’s goals and objectives, and will work to achieve them.
- Companies with highly engaged employees are more likely to attract high-quality candidates for open positions.
- Employees who are engaged are more willing to go the extra mile for the sake of the company.
Breakout Session ELR: Evolving Leadership Roles as Companies Grow. John VanDeusen will lead this session and will take participants on “The Journey of the Dealer Principal from Operator to Executive to Investor”. We will be talking about “Quality of Leadership” at the top of, and within your organization. After you return from this session, you will be able to examine the bench strength of your company and ask the question: how is our enterprise leveraging talent? The ability to create the conditions and environment for success are important characteristics of a strong leader. Additionally, successful executives possess four critical skills which enable them to lead a team through periods of transformation and growth: Change Mastery, Interpersonal Finesse, Mental Agility, and Goal Orientation. Let’s examine each of those skills.
- Change Mastery – this skill is most essential in changing times. The ability to adapt to varying conditions assists these managers in behaving strategically. Masters of change are also tenacious in their efforts to continue learning and improving.
- Interpersonal Finesse – this skill always begins with self-awareness. Executives and managers who possess this proficiency have an ability to embrace conflict and harness it for creative ends. These leaders are also highly competent at varying their leadership style to fit the situation.
- Mental Agility – this is the infinitely important ability to confront ambiguity. Leaders who achieve a heightened level of mental agility are adept at pursuing complexity, and often explore opportunities through the Socratic approach of asking penetrating questions.
- Goal Orientation – an ability to address one’s own performance and the performance of others in a systematic, developmental, and strategic way. Managers who are goal oriented prioritize skillfully, are highly focused, and are often described as “acting on purpose”.
Additionally, participants will be introduced to the concept of decreasing specific actions and increasing others in order to move up the ladder effectively.
Also featured will be Currie Management Consultants, Inc.’s comprehensive program entitled Executive Roles in a Distribution Company, which examines and analyses the structure of successful distribution companies.
Roundtable Topic SGO: Setting Goals and Objectives. In this session all participants will learn about the creation and utilization of The Currie Financial Model. In the distribution of industrial equipment, consistent tracking and analysis of financial and other activities enables dealer principals and executives to stay on top of their performance results each and every day. Some results are short-term (employee productivity measures, rental multiple, and the like) and should be reviewed on a regular basis in order to discover and implement tactical variations. Others measures are more long term, such as Debt to Equity, ROA, and Absorption, and indicate the critical liquidity results of the business, thus allowing the executive team to manage capital effectively and create long-term strategy. The results of all of these financial measures provide us with the profile of a well-run industrial equipment distribution company.
Financial Benchmarking is the cornerstone of a sound company. And the numbers that the executives and manager are exposed to in the Currie Financial Composite are meant to identify areas of the business that need further attention. Also, identifying areas that are running well can help us: think about what’s going on, and think about how to apply some of those specific practices to an area of the business that is struggling. As Robin Currie always says: “The numbers tell a story!”
One of Bob Currie’s pet peeves is when he discusses a Currie product or service with a client, who then replies: “I didn’t know you did that!” So in order to make sure that doesn’t happen, (and to keep me out of trouble) here’s a Currie initiative that some clients are using. Management Groups are a group within an already established Best Practices Group. Most of our Best Practices Groups meet three times per year, and many of them spin off additional managers to these annual Management Groups, which meet once per year. Remember, the Managers Group is comprised exclusively of managers of the same companies participating in the original Best Practices Group.
For example, one of our Best Practices Groups in the farm equipment industry sends their Human Resource Executives to an annual HR Managers Meeting. It is run in a very similar fashion as the Best Practices Group, and the meeting report and all supplementary materials are shared, and a debrief is provided to the dealer principals after the meeting. Additionally, some of our Lift Truck groups ask us to facilitate an annual Parts Managers Meeting. Others have formed Service Managers, Finance Managers, Rising Managers (any department) and Sales Managers Groups. Dealer Principals generally return from their Best Practices Groups armed with anticipated changes and new initiatives. The Manager Groups are critical to assist the Dealer Principal in rolling out the vision, and gaining consensus among the managers to implement the new ideas and concepts. Call us for more information on how your Best Practices Group would benefit from a Management Group!
Currie Management Consultants, Inc. is featuring a new two-day seminar, offered at The Currie Training Center in Worcester, Massachusetts: Benchmarking and The Currie Financial Model.
If you’re a member of a Currie Management Consultants, Inc. Best Practices Group, you’ve likely heard Bob Currie lecture on the importance of benchmarking. A Benchmark is defined as a standard against which the performance of a company can be measured. Historically, benchmarking became widely recognized as an important business practice decades ago. In the 1970s companies began to move from the reverse engineering process towards the competitive benchmark process, when engaged in the analysis of enterprise performance. From that point, benchmarking became a required activity for all high performing companies, or ones that strived to become better performers.
Bjorn Andersen & Per-Gautte Petterson, in their work The Benchmarking Handbook, have created the Five Phase Benchmarking Wheel to demonstrate the process. This procedure demonstrates a methodology of working towards continuous improvement in a business, as it relates to benchmarking.
In the distribution of industrial equipment, consistent tracking and analysis of financial and other activities enables dealer principals and executives to stay on top of their performance results each and every day. Some results are short-term (employee productivity measures, rental multiple, and the like) and should be reviewed on a regular basis in order to discover and implement tactical variations. Others measures are more long term, such as Debt to Equity, ROA, and Absorption, and indicate the critical liquidity results of the business, thus allowing the executive team to manage capital effectively and create long-term strategy. The results of all of these financial measures provide us with the profile of a well-run industrial equipment distribution company.
Industry standards are another critical factor to understand when engaging in the benchmarking process. The industry standards for hundreds of Key Performance Indicators for the Industrial Equipment Dealers are well established, and over the past couple of decades have been developed into the Currie Financial Model©. The Currie Model is a diagnostic tool that, when combined with total industry comparisons, is another powerful indicator of the health of your business as it compares to others within the industry. The Currie Financial Model is widely accepted throughout all Industrial Equipment industries. Analysis of the industry’s highest performers, over many years of study, have been the basis for The Model. The Currie Team has developed detailed financial benchmarks for more than a dozen industrial equipment distribution companies which are involved in different product offerings. One of Bob Currie’s most famous quotes succinctly describes the purpose of the Currie Model: “What does it look like when it’s right?”
It is necessary to address some of the current attitudes and practices that the Currie team is observing from equipment distributors that we currently work with. Many distribution companies that Currie works with are highly engaged in the benchmarking process, and tirelessly tailor their company’s reporting system in order to accommodate the requests for data that they receive from Currie Management Consultants, Inc., for the quarterly Currie Financial Composite, or other industry or dealership reports. These companies are committed to accurate and timely reporting, and that is a discipline which greatly benefits these companies, as their results are always readily accessible. Other clients are not quite as committed to the process. Many times we see a distribution company struggle to produce the data that is necessary for inclusion in one of the above mentioned benchmarking processes. Perhaps the company’s reporting system is not accommodating to the data input requests, the business is in a state of change and there is not enough manpower to dedicate to detailed reporting, or perhaps the executive team has not quite “bought in” to the industry benchmarking practice. For those businesses, the Currie team strongly urges the owners and executives to make a renewed commitment to engaging in the critically important process of providing complete and accurate reporting, on a regular basis. There are powerful tools at the disposal of all Currie clients. The dedication that is required will most definitely pay off!
Financial Benchmarking is the cornerstone of a sound company. And the numbers that the executives and managers are exposed to in the Currie Financial Composite are meant to identify areas of the business that need further attention. Also, identifying areas that are running well can help us: think about what’s going on, and think about how to apply some of those specific practices to an area of the business that is struggling.
Finally, a quote from Robin Currie: “Remember, numbers tell a story. What are these numbers telling us? What is the story that that is unfolding based upon the results of your Currie Financial Composite or Individual Company Analysis? The numbers, and the stories that accompany the analysis, are not meant to give us answers, rather they are designed to prompt us to enter into a Socratic discussion. Instead of providing answers, let the numbers, and the empirical results of your data analysis, provide questions.”
Currie Management Consultants, Inc. is proud to announce that Jim Henderson has joined the consulting team. Jim’s expertise, and his career, is in helping companies achieve the results they have targeted. Here is a little more background information about Mr. Henderson:
Jim is experienced in improving, redesigning and running all customer facing functions and back office processes. He has been a business founder, a hardware/software dealer, a marketing/marketing technology expert, a top manager and a top management advisor, both individually and in groups.
For the last 10 years, Mr. Henderson has been consulting with and coaching CEOs and owners on strategies, technologies, and operations for kick-starting and achieving growth through improved sales, marketing, and service.
Jim’s effectiveness comes through his understanding of markets, customers, products, value, pipeline, and a clear view of objectives. That effectiveness has seen industry leading growth time after time. Mr. Henderson founded a company, which earned a spot on the Inc. 500 as one of America’s fastest growing private companies, with 458% growth.
Jim Henderson can be reached at Currie Management Consultants, Inc. at 508-752-9229, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Currie Management Consultants, Inc. is proud to announce that John VanDeusen has joined the consulting team. Here is a little background about John:
Since 2001, Mr. VanDeusen has been a member of the global Human Resources leadership team at Bose Corporation, where his duties included oversight of the company’s organization development, leadership development, management development, and executive succession/talent review. He also helped Bose executives develop their strategy and teams, and enhance business processes. His last assignment at Bose was to upgrade managers’ ability to hire and onboard talent, manage performance and develop employees. This program reached over 1,900 managers globally in the past two years, resulting in significant improvement in on-the-job practices.
Prior to his time at Bose, John spent ten years as a management consultant working with many private and public sector clients such as CH2M HILL Companies; Hensel Phelps Construction; Lockheed-Martin Energy Systems; M.A. Mortenson Construction; US Architect of the Capitol; City of Ft. Lauderdale; Ports of Seattle; the University of North Carolina Institute of Government; Kansas City Consensus; and Volunteers of America. As a result of this broad experience, John knows how to build and manage a working partnership that provides maximum value for clients.
Mr. VanDeusen’s personal mission is to help those he works with build integrity, improve performance, shape the future, and exercise stewardship.
We are confident that all of our clients will benefit from the rich record of insight and experience that John brings with him. Please feel free to call the office at 508-752-9229 and arrange a time to introduce yourself to John VanDeusen!
Brand new two-day seminar offering:
Benchmarking and the Currie Financial Model©
July 18-19, 2016
This program will feature the following:
- Overview of a Successful Equipment Dealer
- Financial Benchmarking
- The Currie Financial Model
- The Currie Gap Analysis
- The Currie Financial Composite
- Currie Calculator Tools
- Personnel Planning
- Executive Leadership
- Engagement and Accountability
Registration is open for this program: click here! If you have any questions, please call 508-752-9229.