How To Be Effective at Work

Eisenhower said,“What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important.” Only when you strengthen the connection between making money and your activities can you clearly distinguish between the important and unimportant.

Everyone Is Entitled to Their Own Opinion but Not Their Own Facts. When you meet, make sure that all conflicting points of view — based on a single set of facts — are in the room. Require all factions to work together to establish facts.Then have a short meeting with all factions present to decide which position these facts support.

Replace Agendas with Game Plans that dictate the critical preparation required before the meeting, the specific actions required during the meeting and the follow-up required after the meeting.

Ban Meeting Tourists. A business meeting is not a date, but you should treat it just as seriously. Who should be there, and why? Bring exactly the right people — no more and no less. If the right people can’t make it, cancel until everyone with a crucial role can attend.

Don’t Have a 60-Minute Meeting to Do 22 Minutes of Work. Start scheduling meetings just for the time you absolutely need — maybe that is only 10 minutes, or maybe it is 40 minutes. Watch the clock. Use a countdown clock displayed on a laptop, and assign a timekeeper.

Use Hard Starts, Not Just Hard Stops, for Your Meetings. Starting on time must become part of corporate culture to be effective. Have the most senior person attending the meeting show up on time and start the meeting on time.

The Obligation to Dissent. Conflict is critical to progress. Unfortunately, most people and organizations are wired to avoid conflict. Remind everyone, including yourself, that they have an obligation to dissent if they disagree with an action being taken, or even if they are simply unsure.

Talk More, Email Less. Email is a very efficient way to distribute information but a very inefficient way to resolve some issues. It takes far less time to have a short conversation that gets to the heart of an issue than to write a series of emails.

PowerPoint Kills. Replace PowerPoint presentations with simple, standard formats that focus on the key information necessary to make decisions.

Schedule a Little “Me” Time. Every few days, schedule 30 or 45 minutes of quiet time — no phone calls, no drop-in meetings and no emails. Pick an important task from your to-do list that requires you to think carefully. Spend quiet time focusing on that task.You will save time and do a better job than if you try to do the same task while constantly being interrupted.

If You Feel Busy, Take on Even More Important Work. When you take on critical tasks with urgent deadlines, you will naturally begin to squeeze out the time wasters.The old maxim says,“If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”

Increase Your Return on Time. Few people analyze their return on time with anywhere near the care that they analyze how they invest the company’s money. Start keeping a simplified timesheet. Capture all of your meetings, calls and inbox/outbox activity to determine what percentage of your time is spent on unproductive or low-priority activities.

In Order to Shine, Have Other People Do Your Work! Delegating more of your work to members of your team is one of the smartest ways to free up your time.You develop members of your team by giving them a chance to step up to bigger challenges — while at the same time giving yourself time to take on work that only you can do.

Don’t Always Do Your Best. Some decisions do not require as much analysis as you are capable of dreaming up, and some activities do not require as much care as you are capable of providing.While you are doing the best job unnecessarily, an important task needs you! 

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