Time management can be taught

Nidhi Gupta | April, 2012


Pat Brans is author of the book Master The Moment: fifty CEOs teach you the secrets of time management. Affiliate professor at the Grenoble Ecole de Management, Brans provides corporate training on time management and productivity using a unique methodology, based on exclusive tips from the world’s busiest CEOs, and grounded in psychology research. Brans has held senior positions with three large organizations (Computer Sciences Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, and Sybase)
Time Management being your core area of research, how can organisations leverage the same?
Each individual in a family manages his or her time well, then the family as a whole is effective. If each family in a community is effective, the community as a whole is effective. Take the same principle and apply it to work organizations. If all individuals in an enterprise are effective, teams will work well. If each team works well, departments will produce more results. And if each department produces more, the company will have a better overall result.
'Master The Moment' consists of six steps to better time management: identify yourself, energize, prioritize, optimize, head off problems early, and finish things. When I provide training, I like to use the acronym HIT (for Habits, Ideas, and Techniques) to help people remember that each of these steps consists of two habits to develop a few ideas to integrate, and a small number of techniques to learn.
What kinds of leadership skills and management skills do these kind of managers need to follow?
Good leaders always surround themselves with people they can trust, rely on and whose skills compliment their own. To build trust you have to be trustworthy yourself. You have to be somebody others can count on. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Tell people “no” when you have no intention of doing something. It may be hard to do at first, but in the long run people will learn to count on your honesty. Maintain a consistent style and communicate it clearly. If you do these things, people will gravitate towards you.
Can time management be taught. Do you think every leader is equipped with this important trait?
I think time management can be taught. As demonstrated by the fifty CEOs featured in my book, it’s more about attitude than talent. Experiments show that whether it be in sports, work, or intellectual pursuits, talented individuals with performance-oriented attitudes (those who view their goals as a way of demonstrating they are talented) don’t do as well as less talented individuals with learning-oriented attitude (people who understand that they simply need to learn what it takes to reach their goals).
What are the hurdles a company faces when it brings in changes in the style of working with respect to time management and multitasking?
Rather than talk about hurdles, let’s think of some of the things we can do to make positive change. There are a few things companies can do to discourage multitasking. The first thing is to forbid (or at least discourage) bringing laptops and cell phones into meetings. This message has to come from the top, and upper management needs to practice what they preach. 
Companies should offer time management training and encourage workers to read books on the subject. If every employee picks up just one or two new ideas on how to work more effectively, think of how much of a difference that would make.
How important is ethics in leadership?
Think about how you assess people you first meet and adjust that assessment as you get to know them. Over time you develop an opinion about how much you can trust that person. The only way to build that trust is for a leader to play by the rules and communicate honestly. People want leaders with principles. They want leaders who stand for something and stick to their believes when things get difficult.