I arrived 15 minutes late due to an unrealistic back-to-back meeting schedule, ironic given the webinar was on solving work overload problems. But I was quickly in the groove, listening to Bob Pozen's wise words on improving productivity, delivered with the gentle cadence of a Leonard Cohen song.
While not meaning to be judgemental, I do make judgements on the competence of so-called experts, based on their ability to communicate well-researched, important ideas in simple language. I've also found a good indicator of a person's knowledge is how they answer questions. Do they understand the point and provide a direct, pragmatic response, or do they waffle with jargon, creating further confusion?
Bob quickly demonstrated his expertise in spades, no doubt honed from an impressive career spanning academia (Harvard and MIT), commerce (Chair of a multi-billion dollar investment firm) and politics (adviser to President Bush and Governor Mitt Romney). Before I share my key takeaways from this webinar, don't be fooled by their apparent simplicity. The power of good ideas often lies in their simplicity.
While leaders should set the objectives, a team should come up with their own success measures. To help them, pose the question, "How will we know we've been successful?" This will bring greater understanding to your business objectives, help avoid the need for micro-management, and promote better life balance by giving your team more autonomy and work satisfaction.
Spend two days researching the subject and write up your tentative conclusions, even though this may feel awkward. Then do more research and revise your conclusions. Next, bounce these tentative ideas off outside experts. Finally, break your project plan into segments, and review and adjust these monthly, as new insights come to light. The reason why large projects often blow out financially and fail, is too much overplanning and rigidity up front.
Attend to high-value messages right away. Bob cleverly defined these as "Messages from people who are important in your life." The rest can wait, and when you do read these, skip over 50% of the content to get to the point. Unsubscribe to low-value newsletters and practice OHIO (only handle it once). Finally, turn off alerts and read messages in chunks. Bob's personal method is twice in the morning, twice in the afternoon and once in the evening.
Develop guidelines in conjunction with your team. Here are some examples:
I hope you found these tips useful. I certainly have room for improvement in most of these areas. Well done to The Growth Faculty for providing these refreshing webinars led by wise, humble people who know their stuff.
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