BARNES & NOBLE | Confessions of a Reformed Control Freak: The Top Ten Sins Most Managers Make and How to Avoid Them by Brian Smith, Brian Smith, via Smashwords | NOOK Book (eBook), Paperback

Great News! My book – Confessions of a Reformed Control Freak – is now available at Barnes & Noble. I wrote this book so that managers, team leaders & supervisors would /could learn from my mistakes. And trust me – in my 40+ year career as a general manager for one of Canada’s largest and best run organizations and an award winning entrepreneur I’ve committed each one of these sins at one time or another. If I knew then what I know now – there is no question I would have managed differently. After reading this book you will manage differently too. The e-Reader Edition is yours for $9.99. If you are looking for a signed paperback copy please contact me directly for details.

BARNES & NOBLE | Confessions of a Reformed Control Freak: The Top Ten Sins Most Managers Make and How to Avoid Them by Brian Smith, Brian Smith, via Smashwords | NOOK Book (eBook), Paperback.

Stop Making Resolutions – Wishing Won’t Make it So 2

It’s that time of year again when we reflect back on the year that was and start looking forward to the year ahead and what we hope it will be. Are you great at making New Year Resolutions but fall terribly short on actually accomplishing them? “Should have – could have” is the theme song of losers. Break out of that mould this year and learn to be a winner. Stop making resolutions! As Pete Drucker once said, “Wishing and hoping won’t make it so. Miracles are great but they are so unpredictable. You just never know when one will come along.”

Do you have what it takes to stay the course?

Making a list and setting goals is easy. Putting a plan together to achieve those goals is a step in the right direction. Getting started and working your plan is the hard part. It takes the discipline and stamina of a long-distance runner to hang in there until you reach the finish line. Do you have what it takes to stay the course?

Unfortunately we live in a world of instant gratification 

According to a recent study, only 10% of those who make a list of New Year’s Resolutions actually achieve them. I’m not totally surprised by those findings. We live in a world of instant gratification. We want what we want and we want it right now. Instant credit – video on demand – mail-order diplomas, smart phones and text messaging have conditioned us to expect instant payoffs. What-ever happened to putting together a SMART target and working your plan to accomplish your goal?

We are in danger of raising a generation of under-achievers

We are in danger of raising a generation of under-achievers. Have we made it too easy for our children to acquire those kinds of things that we had to work hard for? It’s natural for parents to want their children to have an easier life – after all – our parents did the same for us. But in our rush to ensure our kids a better life, did we forget to instill in them a good work ethic? Did we forget to teach them that nothing replaces hard work? That most worthwhile things in life don’t come easy, and that you have to apply yourself to get ahead?

Learn to set SMART Targets to accomplish your goals 

Don’t feel disheartened – It’s not too late. All we need to do is teach people how to set SMART targets to achieve their goals. We need to tell them to stop wishing and hoping and start putting a plan together that will get them what they want. This year – set yourself some SMART targets.

S – Specific: Write down what it is you want to achieve. Don’t generalize. You’ve got to name it to claim it. A good goal needs to be specific. A wish is a goal with a plan. I want to lose weight is a wish. I want to lose 20 pounds and here’s how I’m going to do it – is a goal with a plan.

M – Measure: You’ve got to be able to measure your progress. Break it down into small steps. What results do you expect to see in a day, a week, a month? How far along in accomplishing your goal will you be in 6 months time? If you can’t measure it – don’t do it. If you aren’t going to measure how do you know if you have the right plan?

A – Attainable: Don’t set a target that you don’t believe you can meet. You’ve got to believe that the hard work will be worth it. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

R – Realistic: To lose 20 pounds in a week might not be healthy or realistic. To lose one pound per week may be more in line. Don’t expect too much all at once. Be patient. If you are willing to put in the time and hard work you will accomplish your goal. Remember – It’s   a marathon – not a sprint.

T – Time-Based: An expected date of completion is a great motivator. It creates a sense of urgency to help you guard against procrastination.

Stop making New Year’s Resolutions 

So stop making New Years Resolutions and start setting “SMART” targets instead. Believe in yourself. Believe that there is nothing you can’t accomplish once you put your mind to it. Life is a planned event. Have a plan – and work your plan. Make 2012 your break-out year.

The Key to Time Management is Life Management 2

We all face the daily dilemma of having too much to do and not enough time to do it. The problem isn’t that you have too much to do – the problem is you are trying to do too much. We all have 168 hours in the course of a week – no more – or no less. Time in not adaptable – people are. Time isn’t out of control – we are. The secret to good time management is good self-management. And the secret to good self-management are good habits. We are adults and we can develop new habits. (Stop doing one thing and start doing another. And the more that you do it – the more it becomes you)

Worth Remembering …

“Besides the noble are of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists of eliminating the non-essentials. – Chinese Proverb.

I’ve put a list of categories together that are proven time wasters. Some of them may carry more weight with you then others. These 7 categories – Goal Setting, Establishing Priorities, Effective Planning, Scheduling for Results, Handling Interruptions, Successful Meetings, Paperwork, Procrastination and Managing Team Time – seem to be the ones that occupy a manager’s time more than others. Over the next few weeks we’ll discuss each one in more detail and post some time saver tips to help you can gain some valuable insight into how to manage your time and your teams time more effectively. (Remember – a good habit is a good result. We are adults and we can learn new habits)

This weeks categories: Goal Setting and Establishing Priorities.

Goal Setting: The way you spend your time defines who you are.  Managing your personal and professional life means deciding on what kind of life you want to lead and what kind of manager you want to be. Setting goals and developing a plan to achieve those goals is the key to being a good manager. You not only need to set goals for yourself but you also need to set goals for the people who work with you.

  • Determine your daily, weekly and monthly goals. What do you want to accomplish? Write them down on your To-Do List.
  • Read your list at least 3 times a day. Once in the morning before leaving the house – after lunch – and at the end of your day just before you nod off to sleep. You need to wake up in the morning with a sense of urgency. You should be going into work thinking about what you need to accomplish today –  Who is going to do it – And by what time you expect it to be done.
  • Don’t try to keep your goals in your head. Writing them down helps to de-clutter your brain. If you’ve written it down you won’t forget it. By writing it down you’ve made a personal contract with yourself. You’ve made a personal committment to accomplish that goal. I always felt a great sense of accomplishment when I got to stroke an item off my To-Do List after completing it.

Establishing Priorities: Think carefully about what priorities mean to you and about how you decide what is really important. Remember – you will never have enough time in the course of your day, week or month to accomplish everything on your To-Do List. But, you do have the time to decide what absolutely needs to be accomplished today. Try this simple but effective A-B-C System to help you decide when to do what on your list.  An “A” item is an urgent item and it needs your immediate attention because it must be accomplished today.  Anything that needs to be completed in 2 or 3 days out should be labelled a “B’ item. Anything else on your list should be labelled a “C” item. Never, never, ever work on a “B” item until all your “A” items have been accomplished for that day. If all the of your “A” items have been completed on your list – then and only then can you can start working on a “B’ item.  There are a number of systems you can use to help you prioritize what needs to be done and when – the key is being disciplined enough to stick to your system.

Learn to play the what-if game to help you decide which “A” item you are going to start working on first. Look at all the “A” items on your list and ask yourself – If I don’t do this one – what’s the worst thing that would happen?   Start on the one that is going to effect you the most. (Next week – Planning and Scheduling)