Issue No. 111 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting features the cure for overloaded lives. If you don’t have time to read this book…nuff said! And this reminder, check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
Cure for Overload
Would it be a tad smug to mention that I wrote this issue a week ago? Truth be told, that’s rarely the case—it’s often down to the wire. But in this wireless, marginless age, I’ve noticed that I’m often the only relic on the rental car bus without his nose buried in his Blackberry or iPhone. Not that I have this week’s subject mastered—far from it. It’s a daily discipline to build margin into my life.
So, tell me. How do you relate to Dr. Dick Swenson’s eloquent description below of the difference between living a marginless life versus the real thing? He writes:
Marginless is fatigue. Margin is energy.
Marginless is red ink; margin is black ink.
Marginless is hurry; margin is calm.
Marginless is anxiety; margin is security.
Marginless is culture; margin is counterculture.
Marginless is the disease of the new millennium; margin is the cure.
To order from Amazon, click on this title: Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, by Richard A Swenson, M.D.
It’s likely that you—or several team members—live on the precipice of a marginless life, without adequate emotional energy, physical energy, time or finances. A life WITH margin honors God—the opposite does not. If you’ve never read this classic, or it’s been a while since you’ve done a margin self-assessment, you’ll deeply appreciate Swenson’s practical and biblical look at a healthy life that is characterized by contentment, simplicity, balance, rest and authentic relationships.
He’s very, very practical. The margin doctor suggests you deactivate your home answering machine, or record this message, “Please wait for the beep and hang up.” This book is a keeper and it deserves a place of honor in your organization’s resource library.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) Swenson writes, “Be with people and serve them. But be sure to get away occasionally. Escape. Relax. Sleep in. Take a nap. Unplug the phone and turn off the beeper. Try setting aside time regularly for some quiet and rest.” Now—give yourself a grade (A, B, C, D or F) on how successful you are at relaxing.
2) Who are the mentors, role models and bosses or supervisors in your life? Do they live lives with margin—or are they are marginless? How does that affect you?
Ducks in a Row? No! - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
One of the big ideas in the Systems Bucket, chapter 18, in Mastering the Management Buckets, is to resist the urge to tinker endlessly to perfect the flawless system. How do you build more margin into your life? Follow the “Ready! Fire! Aim!” approach to projects. Here’s a new thought: Perfection is not the goal.
It’s not always prudent to wait until all your ducks are in a row. Sometimes even systems people must agree that “good is good enough” and now it’s time to launch the project. Too much tinkering to get it “right” may create an unintended consequence: overhead overload.
Some of your team members are systems zealots and have overused skills. Some may hone the smithereens out of a perfectly adequate system. Others, addicted to perfection, rarely finish a project. You may have a team member—a genius—who is unable to tolerate non-geniuses. “Why don’t they get it?” What can you do?
I encourage my clients to read a unique add-water-and-stir resource that is amazingly simple, yet profound. FYI: For Your Improvement: A Guide for Development and Coaching was written by feedback experts Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger. (The 4th edition is in paperback and used copies are often available on Amazon.) This comprehensive development and coaching guide is organized around 100 topics on competencies, performance dimensions, and career stallers and stoppers. Practical action steps are included for three types of team members: unskilled, skilled and those with overused skills.
Find out how to point each of these types in the right direction and maximize what they have to offer your systems and process management. Above all, get them moving! Systems don’t do any good until someone turns the lever to “On.”
Check out chapter 18 for the five strategic systems best practices (including “Eliminate Tenth-Hole Trash-Can Syndrome”) and visit the Systems Bucket on our website for resources, downloadable worksheets, recommended books and the worksheet, “D.W.M.Q.A.T. Form.”
NOVEMBER 18-19, 2008. Join your colleagues at our final Buckets workshops this fall. Mastering the Management Buckets Workshop Experience will be Nov.18-19, 2008, in San Dimas, Calif., hosted by Christian Community Credit Union. For more details and to download the workshop brochure, visit The Workshop page on the Management Buckets website.
NEXT STEPS: I can help you integrate these leadership and management best practices into your unique setting and help you assess your competencies in the 20 management buckets. Email me at John@JohnPearsonAssociates.com or visit my website at www.JohnPearsonAssociates.com and my book website at www.ManagementBuckets.com.