We have been exploring our behaviours in relationship to how we manage our time. The question that we still need to explore further is “What other skills could I use that would help me manage the behaviours I have when dealing with time?
Meetings and time
What is the real value of a meeting?
Use this form to calculate the probable actual cost of your meeting:
|Who normally attends your meeting?Make a note of their names below:
|What do you estimate their salary to be?
|Divide their salary by 40 to get a typical hourly rate:
|How long do they spend in the meeting or travelling to/from the meeting?
|Multiply column C and column D to work out the salary costs per person:
|Total salary costs:
Add to your salary costs any additional costs that have been incurred by the business as a result of this meeting, using the following as a guide:
|Salary costs (brought forward from pervious sheet):
|Travel/accommodation costs: do attendees have to travel? How do they travel?
|Are refreshments/lunch provided to attendees? Calculate the cost:
|Is any equipment hired for the meeting – for example, overhead projector?
|Is there a cost for hiring the room/venue?
|What about the jobs left vacant by those attending the meeting? Do they have to be covered by others? For how long? Calculate the cost of paying others to cover these jobs during the attendees absence:
|Other costs (specify any other costs you can think of below):
|Total cost of meeting:
Meetings are expensive. The exercise above shows you that. Meetings are also unavoidable. You really need to question the value you would be adding to a meeting as opposed to just accepting every meeting invite.
Many articles have been written on how to make meetings more effective. I would like to share a technique with you that will create more engagement and buy-in during the meeting. This will help avoid the “meeting to discuss the previous meeting”, “meetings becoming side tracked”, and “meetings where only a few people participate” and rather create a productive approach to the meeting so that individuals’ time, at meetings, can be better spent.
Six Thinking Hats
This is a systematic method of thinking that separates thinking into six distinct categories. The categories are characterized by the image of a hat and each Hat/thinking category has a distinct colour. By mentally wearing and switching “hats” you can easily focus or redirect thoughts, the conversation or the meeting. (www.debonothinkingsystems.com/tools/6hats.htm)
A fun way is to create actual hats painted in the six colours. That way everyone wears the same hat at some point.
People in a group or meeting sometimes feel that they “can’t” contribute due to their perception of how they will be seen in the group/meeting. With the Six Thinker Hats there is not one perspective in the meeting but several ways in which people can contribute. The hats are categories of thinking behaviour and not of people themselves. The purpose of the hats is to direct thinking, not classify either the thinking or the thinker.
By wearing a hat that is different from the one that one you usually wear, you may be able to contribute a variety of new ideas. Wearing a hat means deliberately adopting a perspective that is not necessarily your own. It is important that all group members are aware of this fact. The group can wear the same hat at the same time to ensure that focus is maintained or a group member must clearly identify the colour of the hat he is wearing while making a statement. Wearing a clearly identified hat separates ego from performance. The Six Hat Method is useful even for individuals thinking by themselves.
Below is an example of how the hats would be used in a meeting:
Another area we need to consider with meetings and our tasks in general, is to ask if you really need to be at the meeting or need to be doing that task? If not, who could you send to represent you or who could you engage to do the task? This leads us to another very useful technique in managing our behaviour and that is the ability to delegate.
Delegation does not just happen. It is a well thought out process that we do “with” someone not “to” someone. As the tasks are still part of our performance areas, it does not remove accountability from ourselves. In order for it to be successful we need to take the time to ensure that it is successful. Below are some points that need to be taken into consideration when delegating:
1 Spot the opportunity – Analyse the meeting/task and decide exactly what it is you need and who you believe would be the person for the job.
2 Discuss the opportunity with them – Just because you believe they are the right person for the job does not mean they believe they are the right person for the job. Get their ideas, establish how they feel about the request. We need to get the individual’s buy-in otherwise they feel they did not have a say and that affects the outcome.
3 Coaching – You will need to spend time giving a detailed brief of what they will be required to do. You may even have to take them through previous minutes, reports or documents so that they have a good understanding of the meeting or task.
4 Ensure that the responsibility they require to be at the meeting or to perform the task is handed to them. Ensure that the other members of the meeting are aware who will be attending in your place or who will be performing a task in your place.
5 Discuss how they would like you to support them during this time.
6 Review the outcome and give them feedback.
7 Acknowledge their contribution and decide on the way forward. Was this a one-off meeting or task or is this something that can be continued?
Benefitsof delegation for people
- It feels good
- Jobs areenriched
- They usetheirinitiative
- Costefficient–Organisationsareefficientwhenalltheimportanttasksnotonly get done, anddoneontime, but alsoaredoneattheleastcost.
- Teams becomemoreflexible–Use delegationtomovetasks aroundateam,so widening theskillbase andincreasingflexibility.
- Teamworkdeveloped–Astasksaredelegatedpeoplecomeintocontactwith whomthey have notworkedclosely withbefore. This helpsfosterteamwork.
- Workloadsarebalanced–Effectivedelegationcanensureanequitable balance ofwork and thatall tasks getdone.
- Keepgoodstaff,developpoorerstaff –Recruitingstaff, especially
professional staff, is a very expensive and time-consuming process.
When high-quality peopleare bored theylook fornewpastures.
- A morepowerfulworkforce –Theworkforcecanbedevelopedasa whole throughanorganisation-widepolicy ofcoaching anddelegation
- Aidscommunication–Anessentialstepinthedelegationprocessisto ensure thatmembers ofstaff understandwhy they are being asked todo newtasks.
branchesin new towns,andcounties,responsibilityand authorityhaveto bedelegatedfrom thecentre.
Combining all of this we also need to be able to communicate assertively. How do you currently communicate? Do you:
1 Communicate more passively in that you do not express how you feel or your ideas but rather go with the group, even if it is an inconvenience to you? This type of style leads us to take on more than we should. We are unable to say “No”.
2 Are you only concerned with yourself and getting your views across regardless of others, their thoughts or feelings. You listen to what others say but you don’t really hear, as you have already made up your mind? This is an aggressive form of communication. This type of style does not create teamwork. You may find yourself having to do all the work, as others will avoid you.
3 In this type of communication the focus is on the negative and getting others to see the negative as well. It reduces productivity.
4 Assertive: Confident and direct in dealing with others (Collins Concise Dictionary). Upholdingone’sownintegrityanddignitywhilstatthesametime encouragingthisbehaviourinothers.
2 Showthatyouhear andunderstand.
As with all skills, time management is a journey. The journey will be different for each of us based on what our current behaviours are. Keep in mind that time is the most flexible thing you can be given. As long as you are working on the basis of priority, and you strive to get your behaviour consistent with your objectives, you are managing your time effectively. In today’s workplace it is not often that we will be able to complete our to-do list. Many items on your list may need to be carried over for a few days. This does not make you ineffective. There is more to time than simply doing the job correctly. It is about doing the correct jobs with the time you have.