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    It’s a universal problem. Too much to do, not enough time to get it all done. I haven’t met a person who couldn’t be better at managing their time, so here are 5 habits everyone should get into.

    1. Slow down to speed up.  Schedule an hour where you drop everything and focus on what’s going on. Too often we let ‘chaos’ be our normal, whereas we need to get back into ‘control’. Brain dump everything onto a clean sheet of paper – every deadline, tasks, meeting, detail so it is all real and in front of you. You should feel calmer already.

    2. Use a system. It might be as simple as a list, better still a prioritized list. Even better, schedule the highest priorities into your calendar so you can commit to when you will complete them.

    3. Be disciplined. Once a week, review steps 1 and 2. This works well on a Friday afternoon as it sets the next week up for success.

    4. Decide on ‘Three Things Today’. Take a Post-it note. List the three things that you simply MUST get done that day. It will serve as a reminder when you get distracted.

    5. Say ‘No’ more often. We have to accept that we simply can’t get everything done. We need to discern what are the essential, high priority tasks and work on those first. This will require us to say ‘No’ to other tasks. Better to say ‘No’ than to say ‘Yes’ and let people down.

    Bonus tip for leaders: Hands up who’s got too much time on their hands? I thought so. You see, when we are time poor, the operational stuff that screams at us becomes the priority. The ‘non urgent leadership stuff’ often gets put on the back burner. Months pass by and before we know it the culture and the level of engagement have turned. We need to make time to lead!


    Be The Change That You Want To See In Others

    Leading, amongst other things is about influence and change. A common source of frustration for many leaders, managers and supervisors is their inability to get others to change. Before you ask others to change, you must be prepared to do something ... to be the change you want to see in others.

    I was fortunate in the last couple of years to spend some time in India. In Mumbai I visited Gandhi's house which is now a humble museum dedicated to his life and run by volunteers. I was reminded about the incredible influence he had on others and about the monumental changes he achieved, all while advocating non-violence and peaceful ways.

    "You must be the change you wish to see in the world" is a famous Gandhi quote. I twist it just a little bit when talking to frustrated leaders who don't seem to be able to get their people to change the way they want them to. It sometimes elicits a strong reaction along the lines of, "I'm fine, it's them who need to change".

    If you are a leader who wants to influence others, showing them that you are also prepared to change can make a huge difference.

    Are you prepared to change?


    Do people at your place 'give a sh!t?'

    So first, let me explain my colourful language.

    When I speak on the impact that leaders have on employee engagement, I share my concept of what engagement means. It's simply how much employees care.

    I'll ask the audience to describe a workplace that has high levels of engagement. The responses include; people are happy, they feel empowered, listened to, work harder etc.

    I then ask what does a workplace that has low levels of engagement look like - more often than you will believe, someone will say 'people there don't give a sh!t'. Coarse? Yes, but almost every head in the audience nods in agreement.

    I am in the process of writing a book called 'Care Factor 100' - how to engage your people and improve your culture. It covers the link between engagement levels and organisational outcomes like profitability, productivity, quality, safety and absenteeism, and the evidence is compelling.

    The book also provides a simple, practical approach to increasing the 'Care Factor' of your employees. In a nutshell,

    • make your expectations of your people crystal clear
    • give them regular honest feedback on their performance (good and bad)
    • share the organisation's vision, purpose, key result areas and goals, and put all these into action plans that people understand
    • give people opportunities to grow and develop
    • create an environment where people feel like they belong.

    Could your people care more? I'd love to help.


    To win big, take risks and make mistakes


    Bad news: You simply can't have it all or do it all

    There is a myth that we can have it all and we can do everything we want to do. For years this concept has been sold to us, but I'm not buying it. 

    A key concept in my leadership teaching is about time management. I ask everyone that I work with if they have too much time on their hands. It is almost universal that people are time poor and can't find the time to do everything that they want or need to do. It follows then, that many of the time consuming, non urgent leadership activities that they should be doing, simply don't get done.

    The answer is realising that we simply can't do everything and to even try is futile. What we should be doing is identifying the most important things and do them first. In his best selling book, 'Essentialism' Greg McKeown tells us that by saying yes to something, we are necessarily saying no to something else. We have to be OK with saying no to things, yet many of us say yes, and set ourselves up for failure.

    Saying yes when we know we should be saying no is also not being authentic, another key leadership concept. Many of us find it hard to say no either because we want people to like us or we feel obligated or we simply don't know how. Here are some tips on saying no more often.

    • Say 'I'd love to help, but at this time I'm overloaded and I really don't want to let you down.'
    • Ask when the deadline is and see if you can negotiate around the delivery date or time.
    • Explain the current priorities on your plate, and ask which one is now not that important if you are to say yes.
    • Stop wanting people to like you. Be OK that you being assertive is also you being authentic. Go for respect first and like second.

    PS: Essentialism is a game changing book - it's the best thing I've read in years!