Creating Effectiveness in the Workplace

Effectiveness is becoming more critical than ever to individual and organisational success, and the good news is that this can be learned. As business owners and senior leaders there is never enough time in the day to get everything done, and we have competing priorities which pull us in all directions. The concept of being an effective leader is nothing new, and some of the practices behind it are obvious, but it is worth thinking about how, where and when we can be more effective in our businesses.

If we can’t manage ourselves and our own time, then it is of course difficult to manage others. However, we need to as we earn our income and our credibility by being effective, solving problems, making decisions, getting the team on board and getting the right things done. There are a lot of personal effectiveness self-help books on the market if only we had time to devour them all. Peter F Drucker, one of the real management commentators, has been writing about Effectiveness for years in his business skills and management books, and in edited highlights in the Harvard Business Review. It is worth having a look at “The Effective Executive” as the framework is useful and there are some interesting examples in there gleaned from the organisations and executives he has helped.

Drucker identifies five practices that are necessary for business effectiveness that he feels can and must be learned. They are:

  • Manage time - because you lose so much of it in the working day he suggests you record it so you know where it is going, look at unproductive activities and how much time is devoted to them. He also writes about working out how much discretionary time you have so you can put blocks of it aside with deadlines to complete what it is you need to get done.
  • Choose what to contribute to the business -having a macro view shifts you to wider relationships and a broader focus on results, rather than getting into specialist issues that others can look after
  • Know where and how to mobilise strength for best effect - continue to focus on opportunities, playing to your strengths and those around you, because after all this drive and attitude is what got you to where you are now.
  • Set priorities and put first things first – concentrate on key result areas as you can’t do everything.
  • Pull all of these together to make effective decisions - make decisions on important and strategic issues that impact the business and performance.

It is harder to put some of this into practice than it looks. If we don’t make a conscious effort to be effective, we will be operating without real impact. As you know, you need a good team around you and be able to see things others may have missed, manage your own time well and know how to set priorities. However, as we said at the outset, effectiveness is the result of learning and practising some of these habits, which in turn impacts our business performance and results, so worth thinking about.

For further questions or if would like more information around integrating HR best practice with your organisation’s strategic objectives, please do not hesitate to contact your engagement partner or ESV Sydney business advisor on 02 9283 1666.