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Are You a “One Minute Manager” or a “Got a Minute Manager”?

Back in 1981, Ken Blanchard wrote his #1 bestselling book, “The One Minute Manager”.  The book demonstrates some very practical and proactive ways to manage your people, all centered on the thought process of quick and focused interactions with your employees.  The end goal was an empowered team that was led by a proactive and focused manager.  Some thirty years later, it seems that our business culture has morphed many of our leaders into the “Got a Minute Manager”.  The “Got a Minute Manager” is characterized as being easily accessible, constantly operating in interruption mode, and micromanaging the team to the point that the entire organization operates with a short term, tactical focus.  The end result is a team and organization that is working harder, not smarter, and employees asking the question, “Whatever happened to great leadership?”  If you find yourself living in the world as the “Got a Minute Manager”, here are some steps to get you back to the “One Minute Manager” mentality:

 Take Back Your Time by Implementing Strong Boundaries

The key to ending your days as the “Got a Minute Manager” is to build some strong boundaries around your time.  The best way to accomplish this is to tell your staff that they are no longer free to interrupt or approach you whenever they feel like it.  Ken Blanchard suggested in “The One Minute Manager” to set up 15 or 30 minute touch bases once a week with your employees.  Instruct your employees to bring their questions and issues to their weekly touch bases.  If there is an emergency and they absolutely have to talk to you, set up two or three 10-minute times during the day where you have an “open door” to address those specific issues.  Taking this step will free up your time so that you aren’t in constant reactionary mode, and will allow you to have time to actually lead, instead of react.  Additionally, it will empower your employees to find their own solutions to problems, instead of constantly relying on your direction.

End Wasteful Meetings – Once and for All

“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.’” – Dave Barry

As the quote above suggests, most meetings are a complete waste of time.  If you find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time in wasteful meetings, here are a couple of key things you can do to end this problem: 

  • Have a written meeting agenda for every meeting you hold, and demand the same from others
  • End your meetings with specific assigned actions items and due dates
  • Make sure your meetings have a time limit, and stick to it

Following these three simple keys will eliminate 80% of your wasteful meetings, and open up huge blocks of time to focus on the two key areas every great leader focuses on, which is leading and developing.

Lead and Develop Yourself and Your Team

Great leaders do two things well – they lead their teams, and they develop the capacity of their people.  One of the main reasons that we have so many “Got a Minute Managers” these days is simply because managers don’t understand how to lead, and the power of developing the talents of their team.  So, it becomes easier to completely avoid these things by being ‘busy’ reacting to things all the time.  By installing some boundaries and managing your time, you can open up the time to lead and develop.

Great leaders take the time to understand the needs of their employees, and work with them to develop their talents so they can move up within the company, as well as increase their capacity to contribute to the team.  Now that you have extra time for this, set up a time to talk to each of your employees to have a discussion about where they want to go with their careers, and how you can help them.  Put together a formal development program, where you are meeting on a regular basis to develop your staff and provide them the tools and training to do so.  Additionally, be a role model by doing the same for yourself.

If you follow the 3 keys above, you’ll quickly make the shift from the “Got a Minute Manager” to the “One Minute Manager”.  The end result will be a team that works smarter, not harder, and an environment of development, growth, and superior results.  Now, go be a great leader!

Oprah Presents Master Class: Jay-Z…A Rapper Describes Flow

I love the new series on the OWN network, Oprah Presents Master Class.  The other day I was watching the one with Jay-Z, the rap superstar.

My mouth dropped open when he began to describe flow.  Now, he was speaking in the context of creating music (or, as he says, becoming one with the music), yet his words are strikingly applicable to life in general:

“Flow is just becoming one with the music.  You find someplace inside the music that you can tuck in, and you don’t get in the way of the groove.  You insert yourself in the song as an instrument.  You’re just part of the track.  You are no different than the horn or the snare or the bass or the hi-hat.  You found the place in that track to tuck in and you just don’t disturb the groove.  It’s just smooth, and it just flows.  I love having that experience.” ~Jay-Z

Replace “music/song/track” with moment and “the horn/snare/bass/hi-hat” with the other people/environment/event and you’ll have an outstanding sensory description of  life when you are in the flow, living in the moment, fully present.  Dare I even say, replace “the groove” with the Divine/Spirit/Love/Source/Life Force/Universe/God..?…I dare!

Update:  Youtube took away the video clip…  🙁  , and they don’t have it on Oprah’s site…Guess you’ll just have to keep your eye out for the episode!  🙂

Sharing Concepts with Life Coaching Clients

In our group coaching class tonight, we started an interesting discussion about sharing concepts with life coaching clients.  If we have an idea about what might be going on, how do we share that without leading or forcing our ideas onto our clients?

The discussion arose out of our topic of Using the Ego to Your Advantage.  We talked about ways we could identify when our egos were feeding us some disempowering thoughts, become conscious of that, and find the empowering approaches, because of this consciousness.  Very useful in discovering and living truth and love, and freeing ourselves from illusion and suffering.

The question came up, how can we avail our clients of this idea?  In real life coaching examples of a client who reacted from ego at a meeting, how might we, as coaches, respond?

Here are some of my thoughts…

  • Of course, we are not coaching when we are leading our clients anywhere…If you find yourself tempted to lead, you are already outside of the coaching groove…
  • Questions that can illuminate the situation will always lead to more understanding…Consciousness automatically leads to learning
  • You’ll be more natural if you are not in the habit of making too many assumptions about what is going on
  • Commenting on things you’ve learned in your experience as a coach (or a human) CAN be appropriate…This might sound something like…I’ve observed many times that people sometimes overreact when they feel threatened…Could that be part of what was happening for you?  Again, you want this to be a real question, not one that you already “know” the answer you “want” to hear.
  • Introducing clients to concepts can be appropriate as well.  This can be stated just as such…You putting forth an idea that you are asking your client to consider if it is true for them or could be helpful for them.

Again, as a coach, if you are making assumptions about what a client “needs” to know, you will be getting in the way.  Let the client’s wisdom emerge via your non-judgmental, open, curious, present, loving approach.