Practical Time Management for Managers (Shimkin)
Probably if you read this you are a business person or a manager. or aspiring to be one. Surely you have many worries on an ongoing, daily basis. Even if you think "I am running my business since a long time and I certainly know how to tackle my worries", I suggest to read on, as this article is a very practical guide to eliminating these business worries!
Maybe this won't help you tackle ALL of your business worries, but It will give you a guiding path on how to move ahead with them. After all, tackling problems in various situations comes via experience and this article sheds light on how other people have tackled their problems and we can learn from their experiences.
Dr. Alexis Carrel (as quoted by Dale Carnegie), once said: "Those who don't know how to fight worry, die young."
So, considering the severity of the worries and the effect they can have on someone, anyone will be happy to hear if something can reduce those worries by even 10-15%. We can learning from the experience of Leon Shimkin
, a partner and general manager of a major publishing house in the US, Simon & Schuster. Shimkin was earlier spending almost half of everyday in "worried conferences" and meetings, discussing problems. But he found a way of avoiding that effectively and it helped him reduce almost 75% of the time spent in such situations!
The following method which Shimkin used can also help you to manage more effectively and reduce your worries drastically:
Whenever there is some problem which associates / employees of your team are facing and they want to present them to the manager/leadership/you, the associate / employee must first answer following 4 questions and submit a memo
- WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
- People tend to spend time in meetings without knowing what the actual problem is and hence spend a remarkable amount of time without even knowing what the problem is.
- So having at least an idea of what the problem is makes it clear for everyone what the problem is to be discussed.
- WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM?
- There are times when people spend time without trying to find the actual cause of problems and rather are hovering around the problem.
- Trying to figure out the possible causes of the problem(s) beforehand will not only help the associates but will also save the time managers/leaders will have to spend in the "worried conferences".
- WHAT ARE ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS OF THE PROBLEM?
- A proactive approach is what this question is about. Trying to find out possible solutions for the problem(s) before presenting it/them will help the manager/leadership/you understand the time which the employee has already put up on working on finding a solution.
- Often in meetings one person will suggest one solution and then other people try to find out how that solution won't work. In that way, the argument becomes the topic of discussion rather than the actual problem.
- If people come up with several solutions / scenarios by themselves, then there will be many perspectives on the table and everyone can put up their points.
- WHAT SOLUTION DO YOU SUGGEST?
- Now comes the part where the employee / associate should evaluate those alternatives and recommend a solution.
- This will avoid the situation where people spend too much time in worrying about the problem and are going in circles around the problem. Instead they find and recommend a solution to their problem even before actually even presenting it to the manager/leadership.
This method has clearly worked for Shimkin. He says, "Now my associates rarely come to me with their problems. The main reason for this is that in most of the cases they already find the solution to the problem which they are facing. This is due to answering those 4 questions and to answer that the associates have to get all the facts and think their problems through. So, in 75% of the cases, they don't need to consult me at all. And even when meetings need to be scheduled with me for the remaining cases which need consultation, they take only 1/3rd of the time required earlier as they follow a structured path."
This method has clearly also helped Shimkin to reduce his business worries 😃. Now he can focus on other work without worrying. This helped him to be more productive and less worried.
I hope implying this practical kind of structure will help many businessmen who face worries on a daily basis regarding business problems.
It's not necessary that you use the same 4 questions exactly, you can tweak them a bit and see what works for your situation the best.
⇨ Do let me know your experiences!
Dale Carnegie, "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living"
Dr. Farah Ajaz, R.Ph, "How to eliminate fifty per cent of your Business worries"