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A Plan to Stick Together


"So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work."  -Peter Drucker

We never really get clarity, we're always seeking it.  Here are some points of clarity to help bring people together because...

"We don't have to do it all alone...we were never meant to."
-Brene' Brown

Leadership vs Management

Let's stop calling leadership, management & management, leadership.  Management is for resources, leadership is for people.

The Scarcity of Time

When a critical strategic initiative at a major multinational company stalled, company leaders targeted a talented up-and-coming executive to take over the project.  There was just one tiny problem...she was already working 18-hour days, five days a week.  When the leaders presented this, the CEO remarked: "By my count, she still has 30 more hours Monday to Friday plus 48 more on the weekend."

This may seem unbelievable but this kind of thinking still happens.  Time is NOT a renewable resource...our energy IS a renewable resource.  There isn't work & life...there's just life and work is a part of it.  Respect the inelasticity of time and appreciate some space for life.

The $1,000,000 Question

Amidst all the distractions and challenges, how can we be fantastically effective at managing resources and leading people?

It seems we're always expected to do more with less.  We rarely have the opportunity to do more with more.  The real question is, how do we do less with less?


Managing is doing things right with stuff, leadership is doing the right things with people.  We can manage money, equipment, facilities & time.  We must lead people with great communication, discipline, training, development & quality of life.

"For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes." - Vilfredo Pareto

A preponderance of effort spent on a few vital tasks yields the greatest achievement of desired goals. The remaining 20% of effort spent on many important tasks yields 20% effect on overall goals.  Get very clear on which 20% of the "to-do" list  you're going to focus on.

"It is far better to do a few things well than to undertake many good works and leave them half done."
-St. Francis de Sales

"There is nothing quite as useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all."
-Peter Drucker

"Devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing.  The less you do, the more you will accomplish."
-Andy Stanley

Stop Chasing Crisis

"What is important is seldom urgent & what is urgent is seldom important."  -President Eisenhower

During his Presidency he spoke about his decision-making process quite often.  Here's his Urgent or Important process...

LIMIT: Not Important or Urgent Tasks

Don't do these and ask "why spend time on an issue that is neither urgent nor important?"  Time spent in this area could be a result of poor decision making.

  • Escape Activities
  • Social Media
  • Watching TV
  • Junk Mail
  • Water Cooler Talk
  • Video Games
  • Surfing the Web

AVOID: Urgent & Not Important

Redirect these and ask "why is an unimportant issue so urgent?"  Time spent in this area could be a result of poor management.

  • Ineffective meetings
  • Interruptions
  • Less important email & phone calls
  • "Work arounds"
  • Unimportant reporting
  • "Pressing matters"
  • Someone else's emergencies

FOCUS: Important but Not Urgent

Schedule these and continue to focus on important issues at the right time before they become urgent.  Spending the majority of the time in this area results in performance excellence.

  • Resource management
  • Effective meetings
  • Evaluations, Awards
  • Relationship building
  • Personal development
  • Data-driven decisions
  • Physical fitness
  • Training
  • Meaningful time off
  • Strategic Planning

MANAGE: Important & Urgent

Do these now and ask "why is such an important issue urgent all of the sudden?"  Time spent in this area could be a result of poor planning.

  • "Real" crisis
  • Emergencies
  • Personnel issues
  • Personal issues
  • Last minute preparations
  • Deadline-driven projects
  • Contingencies

Hierarchy of Organizational Health

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.  Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
-Sun Tzu

  1. Why we exist - Get clear!
  2. Accomplish your mission - How?
  3. Sustain the organization - Lead people, manage resources
  4. Align & Evolve the organization - Clarity & agility
  5. Refine the organization - simultaneous work in 1-4
  6. Organizational health - Success=how you impact the lives of the people in your care
  7. Seizing the advantage - Success=how well the whole team comes together

Numbers 1-5 are the "portfolio" of the work you collectively do.  This must be deliberately, aggressively prioritized in order to maintain healthy people & balanced resource budget.  When we fail to manage our time & lead people across the spectrum of work, we will continue to hear things like:  "...we know our leadership cares, they just don't have time to show us."

Being highly effective in numbers 6 & 7 are essential for high morale.  They can also result in seeing high performance values & behaviors and increased capacity for agility despite constraints.

Move as one!

If everyone rows in the same direction, the team can get to a meaningful place together.

"Whatever come out of these gates, we've got a better chance of survival if we work together."
-Decimus Meridius

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This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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