In Westminster Abby there is a tomb of a bishop that has the following written on it:
“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser I discovered the world would not change. So I shortened my sights somewhat and decided only to change my country but it too seemed immoveable. As I grew into my twilight years in one last desperate attempt I settled for only changing my family, those close to me, but alas they would have none of it. And now I realize as I lie on my death bed, if I had only changed myself firstthen by example I might have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement I then would have been able to better my country and who knows I might have even changed the world.”
The assessments that I perform on staffing professionals show one thing to be certain, that the attribute of self-management is present in all top performers. I am defining self-management as the ability to prioritize and complete tasks in order to deliver desired outcomes within allotted time frames.
The question that you need to ask yourself is, do I feel energized at my staffing firm and also have the energy to manage and enjoy my personal life. If you can answer yes to this, odds are you are effective in self-management. On the other hand, if you are constantly overwhelmed and are having trouble meeting deadlines in your staffing organization and it’s starting to affect your personal life, you may need to practice your self-management skills.
During the work week do you find yourself struggling to be on time for client appointments or meeting new prospects? Are you dedicating enough time towards generating qualified prospects? Do you use the statement, if only I had the right technology I could do a better job? If you are the type of person who is always blaming other people or outside circumstances for your level of success in staffing then perhaps you need to look at your self-management ability.
Self-management is an important attribute for everyone to try to obtain mastery in. There are often times when we will have a lack of direction from our managers. When this occurs don’t let that stop you from making positive strides towards achieving personal and corporate goals.
Self-management skills are magnified as an individual obtains a position of responsibility over a staffing team. If your team perceives you as someone who is always making excuses then they will also create reasons why something can’t be accomplished versus the goal of coming up with solutions for generating gross margin.
What are the skills associated with self-management?
A staffing professional has mastered skills associated if they:
- Independently pursue staffing business objectives in an organized manner.
- Prioritize the daily activities as necessary to meet sales/recruiting responsibilities.
- Maintain the required level of quality activity toward achieving goals without supervision.
- Minimize workflow disruptions and time wasters to complete quality work within a specified timeframe.
The million dollar question is, can we really improve in this area or is this a hard-wired skill that is inherent in people? I have worked with hundreds of staffing professionals and I have observed various styles that have been effective. We all have different styles and ways to organize our thoughts, materials and systems. I was working with a staffing professional in Miami who appeared to have chaos in her office. She was very effective and appeared to use every minute of her day wisely. When I ask her about how she kept it all together she brought me around to her computer terminal and showed me a post-it note attached to the corner. The note attached to her computer said, “Am I making the most of my time”. She told me that by having the note prominently displayed, she was always reminded to keep her eye on the prize. She said that she also had the same note attached to her car dashboard. It is interesting to recognize that this is not some high tech system for keeping on track it was just a simple reminder that worked for her.
How do you develop your own abilities in self-management?
Below you will find a list of some simple steps that can lead you in the right direction.
- Prioritize your sales maintenance and prospecting tasks by importance and due dates.
- Set dates and post them for you and all to see.
- Don’t procrastinate. Tasks become harder and more stressful the longer you wait.
- Deal with e-mails. Schedule time to respond to e-mails and prioritize them.
- If you pick-up a piece of paper, don’t put it down unless you have done something about it-read it, file it, throw it away, take action on it.
- Establish set times when you are prospecting and communicate accordingly so the staff understands the importance of new business development. Do not make prospecting something you do when there is nothing else to do.
- If you are not getting clear direction, learn to take charge. Determine what you think needs to get done and do it.
- Keep track of and keep the promises you make to prospects, clients and co-workers.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. A fit body will put you in a better position to handle the rush of stress hormones that start when you get into a challenging situation.
- If an unexpected crisis occurs, keep calm and gather facts to evaluate the situation carefully before reacting too quickly.
If you follow some or all of the points above you will be one step closure to mastering self- management. Of course there are a load of time management tools on the market that can also start you in the right direction. If you feel the blackberry or trio gizmos are your answer then feel free to click away. If you just use simple index cards or post-it notes -good for you; just use something.
My father drove a truck for 35 years to support our family. When the alarm rang at 4:30 in the morning he got up to deliver gas to stations around New Jersey. For 35 years he had an impeccable “on time” delivery and safety record. One day I asked him how he did it for so long; how did he get up so early for all those years? He looked at me like I had three heads and said very simply, “I set the alarm for 4:30 and when it rings I get the heck up!” Maybe in the end that’s all it takes. When the alarm rings just get the heck up!