Promise Management or Time Management?
Remember when a pinky promise meant way more than just ‘yes’?
Back then we knew the difference. Now we’re adults and we can’t tell which yes is a promise, which yes is “I’ll do my best but don’t hold me to it” and which yes is really a maybe.
The prevalence of this is so huge that we don’t even consider the possibility of changing it. We just accept that stuff happens, so we hardly count on people to do what they say they will do when they say they will do it. We rarely even ask for that level of certainty, let alone extend it to others. And if the truth be known, we usually play fast & loose with promises we make to ourselves.
The implications of this however are greater than we notice. Complaints about time management, people not delivering on time, and people avoiding making commitments, are all connected to what we call Promise Management. Click Here for our free article about the secrets of Promise Management, and how to create a culture where you at least know where you stand. We promise what you learn will be well worth your time!
In the March 2016 edition of HR Florida Review the MasterCoaches write about the opportunities for Human Resources to partner with senior leadership as the trusted culture architect. Enlightened leaders see the value of culture in creating an engaged high performing workforce. They also know they need the support of competent specialists to oversee the care and feeding of such a culture. In this article we share how HR can become key players in this opportunity. View the entire article here.
In this February 2016 article Bonnie Flatt talks about what we consider to be one of the hallmarks of high performing organizations: the ability to disagree in a positive way while maintaining connection, trust and respect for others point of view. True teams will outperform lone warriors because they tap into diverse perspectives and competencies united by a common cause. A culture that invites transparency and knowledge sharing also contributes to a sense of purpose, ownership, engagement and empowerment. This is competitive advantage that also happens to make for a great place to work. View the entire article here.
Coaching For Success Article
Bonnie Flatt contributes her insights in the cover article of HR Professional Magazine — January 2015 edition. The article describes modalities of coaching in the workplace, and provides useful distinctions for how coaching can boost both performance and engagement. View the article here.
Organizational Culture Article
Bonnie Flatt is quoted several times in this engaging cover feature article on organizational cultures that was published in the July/August 2014 edition of HR Professional magazine. The article describes the impact of culture, values and vision on performance, branding and competitive advantage. It also discusses the integration of multiple cultures within global organizations, as well as the link between internal culture and external culture or brand. View the article at this link. The entire magazine issue can also be found here.
A Message To Garcia by Elbert Hubbard, 1899
In all this Cuban business there is one man stands out on the horizon of my memory like Mars at perihelion. When war broke out between Spain & the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain vastness of Cuba- no one knew where. No mail nor telegraph message could reach him. The President must secure his cooperation, and quickly.
What to do!
Some one said to the President, “There’s a fellow by the name of Rowan will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.”
Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How “the fellow by the name of Rowan” took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, & in three weeks came out on the other side of the Island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and delivered his letter to Garcia, are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail.
The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, “Where is he at?” By the Eternal! there is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college of the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this and that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies: do the thing- “Carry a message to Garcia!”
General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias.
No man, who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man- the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it. Slip-shod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, & half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook, or threat, he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, & sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant. You, reader, put this matter to a test: You are sitting now in your office- six clerks are within call.
Summon any one and make this request: “Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio”.
Will the clerk quietly say, “Yes, sir,” and go do the task?
On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye and ask one or more of the following questions:
Who was he?
Where is the encyclopedia?
Was I hired for that?
Don’t you mean Bismarck?
What’s the matter with Charlie doing it?
Is he dead?
Is there any hurry?
Shan’t I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself?
What do you want to know for?
And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the other clerks to help him try to find Garcia- and then come back and tell you there is no such man. Of course I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average, I will not.
Now if you are wise you will not bother to explain to your “assistant” that Correggio is indexed under the C’s, not in the K’s, but you will smile sweetly and say, “Never mind,” and go look it up yourself.
And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift, are the things that put pure Socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all? A first-mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting “the bounce” Saturday night, holds many a worker to his place.
Advertise for a stenographer, and nine out of ten who apply, can neither spell nor punctuate- and do not think it necessary to.
Can such a one write a letter to Garcia?
“You see that bookkeeper,” said the foreman to me in a large factory.
“Yes, what about him?”
“Well he’s a fine accountant, but if I’d send him up town on an errand, he might accomplish the errand all right, and on the other hand, might stop at four saloons on the way, and when he got to Main Street, would forget what he had been sent for.”
Can such a man be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia?
We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the “downtrodden denizen of the sweat-shop” and the “homeless wanderer searching for honest employment,” & with it all often go many hard words for the men in power.
Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne’er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long patient striving with “help” that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned. In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. The employer is constantly sending away “help” that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on. No matter how good times are, this sorting continues, only if times are hard and work is scarce, the sorting is done finer- but out and forever out, the incompetent and unworthy go.
It is the survival of the fittest. Self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best- those who can carry a message to Garcia.
I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is absolutely worthless to any one else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress him. He cannot give orders; and he will not receive them. Should a message be given him to take to Garcia, his answer would probably be, “Take it yourself.”
Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular fire-brand of discontent. He is impervious to reason, and the only thing that can impress him is the toe of a thick-soled No. 9 boot.
Of course I know that one so morally deformed is no less to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in our pitying, let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold in line dowdy indifference, slip-shod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude, which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry & homeless.
Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a-slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds- the man who, against great odds has directed the efforts of others, and having succeeded, finds there’s nothing in it: nothing but bare board and clothes.
I have carried a dinner pail & worked for day’s wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; & all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.
My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the “boss” is away, as well as when he is at home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly take the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets “laid off,” nor has to go on a strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks shall be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town and village- in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such: he is needed, & needed badly- the man who can carry a message to Garcia.
Is Disorganization Cluttering Your Path Forward? Here’s one success story!
Getting Things Done Read about David Allen’s system hacked into action by a friend
Before: Over 2 years procrastinating completing paperwork for licensure in her chosen field, and overall having more to do than could ever be done. Many serious intentions but very erratic follow through, and the consequences thereof, creating a vicious cycle.
After: “GTD continues to be great…Continue to have inbox=0 at work at end of each day. LOVE having project and action lists. I am getting so much done and because I can actually respond to things I notice I am more creative and have more ideas. Also I am learning to delegate and ask for help with things, ask more questions, etc.
Not only did I finish the last-minute slides I was asked to work on tonight, I also prepped and packed for my trip, wrote some thank you notes, and DID THE THING I had put in my calendar, which was to take an hour and make a project plan for a self-taught leadership mini-course that I am required to do this summer for my internship. Then I put the next actions in my calendar. Do you know how long it will take me? About 10 hours: doable. No longer a horrible thing I have to put off and then try to do all at once.
I put ‘sleep’ in my calendar. I block out “my projects” time and don’t schedule other stuff then…Also I have found a PT close to home last week and have already been in to see her and am actually doing my exercises for my hip.
I did a personal Weekly Review over the weekend (tried to do one at work – harder to sequester that time). I can see the Weekly Review is an art form, will take some practice to master, but I’m excited about it. Really helpful to choose what my priorities are project-wise week to week, to know where I want to be in them at the end of the week and then schedule things.
…Also my memory seems better…less static when I am not keeping stuff in me head. It seems like when I take the time to think about things in projects and as actions and assign contexts, my brain can access the memories much more easily..this is all so amazing to me. Like I have awakened some Type A genie in my brain. It is very, very cool.”
– Listening to a David Allen audio of his workshop helped me get a sense of the whole system and how it could work, and the basic concepts.
– Accepting that externalizing everything was really a good idea and that trying to keep things organized in my head was a losing game.
– Finding a system that I trust (I like using www.Nozbe.com because it is online and really easy to change, update, etc.).
– Readiness was a big factor. Also having so many projects to juggle and very limited energy. I just finally accepted that I needed to have a functional system and that without that I was creating tons of totally unnecessary stress for myself.
– Thinking about things as projects and being able to assign them to contexts and associate them with larger areas of focus in my life (e.g., this is personal, this is work, this is related to school, etc.).
– I thought I wasn’t able to do things because I was tired, or too distractible, or didn’t feel enough passion or desire, or that I was too easily overwhelmed. Really I just had never learned how to think through a project and translate the outcome into actions. And I had no way to capture those ideas or keep the decks clear. I wasn’t getting things done simply because I didn’t know what I needed to do. Instead I would wait around for someone else to tell me, or for the deadline or situation to be so imminent that it would become clear enough to act on.
I guess before this, breaking things into actions and putting them in the calendar was only a little bit helpful, because I didn’t have any overarching structure to put tasks and time within – I didn’t have a place to see the ‘projects’ and keep them on my radar. So the things on my calendar just felt like more ‘stuff’ coming at me, like lots and lots of little deadlines that I wasn’t ready to tackle and couldn’t get an overview of and just generally wasn’t willing to do.
Whereas now I know where I want to be on each project at the end of the week and what is most important. I know exactly what actions I want to do and why, and I have a list holding that all together for me.
The shift was understanding that I could think about everything as a set of projects that I get to plan and respond to, and that now I get to choose priority and then manage and figure out how I want to complete those things. It’s not about controlling my schedule because that is not really going to happen. It feels more creative. I get to be in charge.
Good metaphor for ADD: I’ve always felt like I am driving a car in which the steering wheel is not connected to the wheels. I turn the wheel and nothing happens and the car goes off in a completely different direction. Same for my life in general; I could see where I want to go and I had no reliable means to steer there. I never knew if my intention to do something would actually translate into action. I did not trust myself. And why would I? I could not keep track of this stuff in my head and I forgot things or did not even know where to begin.
The projects feel like the steering column. It works. Now I know how to translate my ideas and goals into some actual activity. And I have a way to keep on top of stuff and remind myself as often as I need it, what am I doing, what is next, what do I want to happen, where am I going, what is most important?
Also I love the Someday/Maybe. It’s so great to capture those ideas and know that I don’t have to remember them – they will be right where I left them when it’s time to review.”