When I was a student my dad asked me to follow a timetable so that I can focus on both studies and fun activities. It is at this stage that we learn time management and punctuality which are essential ingredients to be successful in any phase of life. A proper plan in place and following the plan allows us to be more organized, avoids last minute anxiety and help us make better decisions.
The first step of planning is to have clarity on the purpose for which we make a plan. It can be an appraisal, a career progression, managing finances or being a better human being. If the purpose is not clear our plan will not be fruitful as the saying goes ‘Think before you leap.’ We need to discuss the plan with mentors and utilize their valuable experience to have clarity of thought. The different activities under a plan need to be prioritized based on importance and checklist should be created to avoid neglect of any vital tasks.
A good plan should always be followed up with an excellent execution. In a game of cricket, we need to be aware of which ball to leave and which ball to strike. There should be milestones defined which are time bound and help to figure out how we are progressing in our plan. We need to be creative and improvise at times, depending on the progress we need to have a strategic timeout where we can regroup and address the concerns.
From a business perspective, we need a team of people to achieve great value for customers. Setting goals improves the productivity of the employees and the organization by monitoring the progress and minimizing wastage of time. Managers must be aware of the team’s capabilities and time required for the task to prepare a workable schedule that can help in managing time. I came across the following definition of a leader in a magazine years ago “Leader knows that delegation of work and allowing employees to generate ideas of their own will help in achieving a perennially successful organization.” This holds good for an effective manager. A manager should always strive to effectively utilize his/her time and that of others. The focus should be to identify the right things and doing the things right by finishing tasks ahead of schedule. The schedule should be regularly reviewed to keep track of the work.
Constantly changing customer needs and market environment has made effective management (thinking and acting in the right manner) necessary for every organization. According to Stephen Covey, a manager needs to involve themselves in long-term planning, anticipating and preventing problems to avoid facing a crisis situation at a later stage. Like in the game of chess we need to plan our moves, anticipate the opponent’s moves and execute our moves as per the situation at hand. Lastly, business ethics should not be compromised in the process of achieving the desired results.