Peter Drucker predicted this would happen. So did Faith Popcorn. Drucker predicted that as more and more people became knowledge workers, the biggest challenge they would have would be directing their own work. Faith Popcorn suggested that more and more people would be working from home.
We are now in the middle of the perfect storm of a results-crushing lack of performance, unless you learn to manage yourself and help the people on your team to do the same.
Define the necessary outcomes. Much of the work that you do does nothing to help you produce the results you need. A quick review of your email will reveal time-stealing, unimportant notes or requests for you to make commitments that won’t further your results. A review of your meeting calendar will prove that most of your meetings are information exchanges that would have been better served with a memo. Most meetings don’t result in a decision.
To manage yourself, you have to define the necessary outcomes you need to produce. Your email inbox isn’t an outcome, even though you might from time-to-time stumble across something that can help you achieve your real goals. Meetings aren’t outcomes, unless you are making decisions that move things forward.
What are the outcomes you need to produce to be successful?
Define the necessary actions. The trick to producing the outcomes you need is to define the actions that produce those outcomes and take those actions. We already determined that responding to email and attending meetings aren’t likely to be the right actions. So what are the right actions? Is it making the calls necessary to build a solid pipeline of opportunities? Is it writing a proposal to help your dream client with a results-improving solution that will crank up their results? Is it having the tough conversation you need to have with an employee or peer?
If you are going to manage yourself, you have to spend your time doing the few things that produce the outcomes you need–while avoiding the time-wasting activities that prevent you from reaching your goals.
Hustlers don’t need to be told what to do. Non-hustlers do, which is I believe that activity management is going to make a comeback in a big way. Too few people can will themselves to define and do the work they need to do. Too many are distracted by all the novelties that the Internet provides.
How do you define your work? When was the last time you sat down to review the outcomes you need and the tasks necessary to produce them? If you are being honest, could you use some improving when it comes to managing yourself?
Make sure you are managing the one person you need to manage to meet your goals this week!