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Organizing for Success

When I walked into the executive's office, this was the scene. On one wall trade journals and magazines were stacked practically to the ceiling. It looked like they dated back a few years. One the other wall, there were project items, promotional tools and the like again stacked deep. Near his computer were a pile of folders; the pile was overwhelming and every folder had various items stuck into the folder at random. The executive's first words to me were: "I just can't seem to get organized. I need to get all of this filed but I share one support staff person and never seem to get to it." Then he looked at me pleadingly and said, "Do you have any suggestions?"

You bet I have suggestions. This is a scene that is repeated time and again as I travel to different companies. The day of "personal secretaries" is all but gone so high-level executives are left to try to figure out a filing system. Often the task is overwhelming.

According to a survey conducted by a Canadian company, Pace Productivity, the number one time-waster is administrative and paperwork type tasks
Since this executive's strength was not in the paperwork I suggested that he take a weekend and hire his own temp out of his discretionary budget. The cost of a temporary employee to help organize the office would be a minimal expense and the time it would take would be well worth the benefits. Even if the executive hired a temp every quarter, his increased productivity would outweigh the expense. But first he needed a plan.

A leader's office should reflect the success the leader is attaining. This executive found that his superiors thought of him as "scattered" and "not always effective" mainly because of the way his office looked. The man looked scattered. With the help of Leadership Solutions, we were able to determine how his office could work more effectively and how to better organize for his own success.

Leaders need to recognize where to pull-in help with tasks outside their skill set. In another example, a leader complained about meeting getting out of control and taking a major portion of her time without accomplishing any of her goals.

Producing a great meeting is much like producing a great product. You can't just dive in and build it, there needs to be some plan and design. The same is true for an effective meeting. First and foremost, a manager must make certain that the desired outcome of the meeting is clearly stated and considered in every phase of planning. Consider these suggestions:

  • Always have a clear objective stated for the meeting
  • Establish ground rules for the meeting
  • Take a few minutes at the start to make sure everyone at the meeting has the same expectations
  • Involve everyone in the meeting
  • Review the meeting before it concludes to find out what went well and what pitfalls to avoid next time.
Leadership Solutions can help you focus on your strengths and build an effective leadership brand.

"Helping leaders with creative and flexible solutions
to increase their effectiveness."

Donna Dennis
Telephone: 609-497-1997