Time Management Tools for Leaders—It Starts With You
We hear you … All those gimmicky time management tools for leaders—the hacks and tips, the latest project management tool, the airport bestseller—never seem to give you enough time. You’re still busy.
Despite all that time management, time still feels like the enemy.
Despite your valiant efforts to “save” time, you are still overwhelmed, you still waste time, you still feel guilty for not being even more productive, you’re not really happy with how you spend your time, and you’re not doing enough of the work you’re here to do. On top of that, the teams you are responsible for are chronically stressed and burned out.
Something about “time management” isn’t working …
We went back to the drawing board
To help our clients—senior leaders and their teams—be more effective and more fulfilled, we took a hard look at time management, going right back to the fundamentals: the physics, philosophy, and history of time. And our research exposed three fallacies in conventional time management.
1. “Time Management” is out of date.
Old-school time management is a rusty relic of the Industrial Era. Born of assembly lines, white-coated efficiency experts, stopwatches, and time/motion studies, its purpose was to help managers extract more value from laborers. While this made sense when people made stuff and enjoyed quaint things like lunch hours and weekends, it doesn’t make sense with a diverse, hybrid workforce who work across multiple time zones and are always contactable. And it doesn’t make sense in a complex, information economy where time is not related to output, where an amazing idea that takes just one moment can be worth billions.
2. Productivity is not the solution.
Old-school time management is based on a lie: that being more productive will give you more time. Consider this: We humans have been boosting efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity for thousands of years, developing ever more powerful “time saving” devices, tools, and technologies, creating more and more time management tools and techniques … and yet we feel busier than ever.
3. Time is not external.
Old-school time management assumes that time is an external problem, a hard fact of nature, something that people should be able to control, measure, manipulate. But much of what is considered “time” is a human construct—a set of beliefs, rules, and habits that have more to do with politics, culture, and individual hopes, dreams, and fears, than nature.
What this means is that you’ll never fix time just by getting a new gadget or focusing only on what’s out there—you have to change something “in here.” You have to change how you show up in each moment.
We help leaders break through the time barrier
We developed three guiding principles that make time management fit for purpose in the 21st century. These principles enable us to provide time management tools for leaders that help you, finally, have the time you want.
Our three key principles:
1. Time is personal.
Time is deeply related to your mindset, your beliefs, and your values. That’s why we guide you through a powerful process that transforms the way you think about time. Only then can you make meaningful choices and find the clarity and conviction to manage your time effectively.
2. Time is an agreement.
Every culture—which means a country, organization, team, or family—has implied agreements about time. (For example, if everything in your company is “urgent,” how can anyone find time for deep work?) This means that you will never get on top of time, or have the time you need, until that agreement becomes conscious and you make the new, shared agreements that empower you and every team member.
When we help teams have meaningful conversations about their actual time needs, they can solve a huge range of problems. They can blast through those unclear decision-making protocols that suck time. They can renovate the meeting practices and calendaring conventions that are so energy-sapping. Through this shared process, your teams design new, conscious agreements about time that both honor their individual needs and serve the organization’s strategic goals.
3. Time is leadership.
Many leaders assume they need time management only to become more effective, but we believe time management is the essence of leadership. As a leader, you are the metronome for your people. You set the strategy, budget, prioritization, deadlines, and urgency for the whole organization. You also model time for others; your own bad time habits have a huge impact on your people. This means that how you use time is critical to the success and happiness of your team. At the end of the day, it starts with you. And that’s why we always start with your mindset, your beliefs, and your values. That’s why we guide you through a powerful process that transforms the way you think about time. Only then can you make meaningful choices and find the clarity and conviction to manage your time effectively.
"To understand ourselves means to reflect on time, but to understand time we need to reflect on ourselves."
The Order of Time
Focus on the person, not the clock
We don’t treat you like a cog in a machine. Instead, our highly coached processes are based on self-awareness, understanding, and conversation.
Nor do we impose “cookie cutter” solutions. Instead, we help you discover the time management tools for leaders that actually work for you … and then find “you-friendly” ways to implement them.
We start with you (but don’t stop there)
- We start with you.
Why? Because if YOU don’t change your behavior and model healthy time practices, no one around you gets to see how it’s done. If you don’t have clear priorities, then no one else is clear.
- We then bring your leadership team into this change process and support them to evolve new ways of working—how they meet, collaborate, and decide.
Why? Because you need alignment around you in order to make change stick. Your people need to see that their leaders are serious about making time for what matters.
- We then pilot this new approach within a team or business unit.
Why? We experiment, test, and iterate new ways of working to find out what works best for you and your people.
- For those who want to go all the way, the outcome is a Time Charter—a set of dynamic agreements—and scale this across the whole business. This builds a sustainable organization with healthy, balanced, and evolving ways of working.
What Our Clients Say
Having been around this topic in HR for a long time, I had never seen anything like this program before. This was completely new material and an amazing learning. This course is very, very relevant in the workplace. Each class is a deep dive while also giving you something practical to take to the workforce. Once you have this language you can’t help sharing it. The timing is so perfect for what is needed in the world right now.
Caroline Barth, Chief Human Resources Officer, Lonza
When was the last time you sat with yourself to consider what you do with your time and how you relate to time? When you use time as an excuse, or feel it as an oppressor, a healer or money-maker. This course gives you a unique opportunity to do this … taking a closer look at your views about “time” and having the opportunity to explore your beliefs and values that shaped who you are, how you relate to time, what you do with your time, and what time you are denying yourself, among other things.
Elina Koussis, Leadership Development Leader, General Electric
Inspiring, impactful, necessary.
Aurelie Dalbiez, Chief Human Resources Officer at Corbion