Time, Talent, and Energy: Managing the Scarcest Resources for Business Success

businessman with diceMost companies look into various strategic business operations to get an edge over their competitors. One of those ways is to have elaborate procedures for capital management that include compiling a business case for any new investment, prescribing spending limits at each designation, and carefully delegating authorities to manage cash flow.

However, intelligent branding means identifying that competitive success lies in the smart management of the three scarcest resources – time, talent, and energy. In contrast to capital, most brands have realized that the time of the employees, the overall talent of the organization, and the energy put behind achieving desired targets are the real assets, which, unfortunately, are too often squandered.

A lot of guidance is being given as to how an individual should optimize these resources. But, what is really required are organizational solutions to unleash a company’s productive power for outpacing its competitors.

These 5 points will enable brands to ponder their practices and gain insights into saving the most meaningful resources for the best organizational outcomes.

Bring discipline into Time Budgets

One of the key formulas behind a company’s success is its ability to think forward. Some companies have taken an altogether different approach to saving employee time. They expect their employees to consider time as one of their scarcest resources and invest it wisely. They bring as much discipline to their time budgets as they would to their financial budgets.

Most companies have not only lowered their overhead expenses, but have also liberated endless hours of previously-unproductive time for executives and employees, motivating innovation and accelerating profitable growth.

The former CEO of Intel, Andy Grove, once wrote, “Just as you would not permit a fellow employee to steal a piece of office equipment, you shouldn’t let anyone walk away with the time of his fellow managers.”

Make the most of Time Management Tools

A lot of companies unintentionally spend a lot of their time on issues that would otherwise demand very little attention. Meetings creep up suddenly, with no prior planning or clear agendas. Sometimes, initiatives crop up that demand undue managerial attention.

To cope with this, companies now use tools like Ximble time tracking and Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, iCal, and other scheduling and messaging applications that can track where employees at each corporate level spend the organization’s collective time. The calendar data reflects a number of meetings over the week, month, or year. It also keeps track of the number of people attending the meeting and tracks certain organizational behaviors, such as parallel processing and double booking, that occur prior to, during, and after meetings.

If the employees’ privacy is safeguarded, such time management tools provide a clear picture of an organization’s time budget.

Implementation of business case creation

Most often, companies get victimized by “initiative creep,” as seemingly sensible projects get added to the existing ones. Out of these, only a handful are ever formally terminated. Those seemingly sensible projects unknowingly exploit a lot of employee talent.

Gary Goldberg, CEO at Newmont Mining, insisted that all of the leaders of the organization develop formal business cases for the company’s ongoing and proposed projects. Before investing either time or talent in any of them, the project had to be reviewed by the ELT in terms of the inputs and efforts required to accomplish it. Of course, each case had to mention the exact economic gain, total expenditure, and other technical necessities.

The naming of inputs and efforts in these cases brought the desired effects. Several projects in the pipeline were discontinued since no business cases were presented for them. A few others were not approved. In less than three months, the company scaled back the number of initiatives by one-third. The productive outcome was that the organization as a whole could refocus its collective talent on improving other operations.

Assemble “A” players into teams

Companies that fall into the “most productive” category do not really possess more top talent than other companies. Instead, their prime focus is on the effective deployment and maximum utilization of their “A” players – leaders.

Successful companies are more focused on their finished products, rather than the collaboration, teaming, and deployment that created those products. These concepts are, however, very important for enhancing the company’s overall performance.

Companies can improve their output by thoughtfully assembling all of their “A” players into one team, and then deploying them to carry out missions that demand critical initiatives. When a company’s top players are clustered together, they act as a force multiplier to produce greater and higher-quality output.

Simplify the organization

The more layers there are between the CEO and the frontline workers, the slower the flow of information and decision-making. This is also one of the biggest causes of energy wastage in most organizations.

Also, each additional supervisor adds costs, in addition to his or her salary. Leaders at the supervisor level schedule meetings that require content, which junior executives often develop. There are other employees at the management level that review the content, provide feedback, and supervise the task. To save both employee time and energy, it is not only important that organizations simplify their reporting system, but that they also standardize their decision-making processes.

In 2012, Woodside, Australia’s largest independent oil and gas company, defined a set of operating principles that specified responsibilities, authority, and accountability pertaining to each business unit, their functions, and the corporate center. An extensive training program ensured that the company’s top leaders grasped and practiced these new principles. A navigator team was established, which helped to remove roadblocks and accelerate decision-making across the company.

This strategy to save talent had a deep and profound impact on the company’s output. A significant portion of the saved time, talent, and energy are now spent on efforts to improve execution and explore new growth opportunities.

Companies can enhance their productive power only by realizing that an employee’s time, talent, and energy are the real assets. Leaders can significantly improve workplace productivity by pressing effective time management, attracting and retaining exceptionally talented people, and harnessing the organization’s energy to multiply the impact of their employees’ time and talents.

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