Here is a simple habit that can boost productivity in your organization. One client credits this technique for an 18% increase in annual revenue with a reduced headcount. It takes practice but quickly becomes second nature.
I brought this method into the workplace from my flight training. Pilots and air traffic controllers (ATC) must communicate precisely and briefly while also executing specialized tasks. Misunderstandings in aircraft can have horrible consequences, so specific communication techniques are required. Many of the most serious accidents are caused by failure to follow these practices, including the 1977’s Tenerife Airport Disaster, commercial aviation’s deadliest incident.
Talk may be cheap but miscommunication is costly.
Have you ever listened to the (more…)
I am pleased and flattered that my clients, Chris Haddon and Jason Balin, gave specific, detailed credit to me and some of my techniques in their new book, The Whiteboard: Go From Blank Canvas to a Productive, Leveraged and Highly-Profitable Business. Here is just one paragraph.
We sought out our executive coach, Tony, to show us the most strategic, effective way to design our success. A business coach will help you make the right moves at that right times consistently; it’s a precise recipe for getting ahead. Our decision to partner with an executive coach has been a very fruitful investment. By working with Tony, we were able to meet our ten-year business goal in three years. That’s the power of having an expert help you structure your decisions and career movements on a regular basis. Having a career coach isn’t a luxury; it’s smart business and smart living.
The method is as old as procrastination but has been attributed recently to billionaire comedian Jerry Seinfeld, as in this frequently cited LifeHacker article, where it is called Don’t Break the Chain. I prefer positive instructions, so let’s name it Link-a-Day.
Buy or make a simple, clean one year calendar. Do not just print your Outlook or Google calendar; those have too many distracting details for this purpose. You can start your own on any date and fit 365 days on one sheet by downloading my template here in Excel format or use the Google Sheets version here.
Place your calendar in the physical world rather than in a computer or app where it can hide. Hang it where you will see it everyday. I put mine on the wall right next to my computer monitor. After you complete the promised activity for the day, mark it complete. When you miss a day or two, start again. No regrets, no excuses. Just start again. You can play games with Link-a-Day by playing for a longer unbroken chain or a shorter gap than last time.
That’s it. As Aristotle observed, a person is what she consistently does. Use this to start doing something you will be proud to be.
Of all the management tools I recommend, one of the most effective is both very simple and very unlikely to be consistently employed—if it is used at all: the written progress report, completed on a consistent schedule.
The power of progress reports to promote results and reduce anxiety is demonstrated daily, on matters titanic and trivial. The U. S. Constitution requires that the President “from time to time give to the Congress information of the State of the Union.” Public companies are required by law to present results to shareholders, at fixed intervals and in specific formats. Schools send regular reports to parents, our GPS tells where we are, and UPS sends a text when a package arrives.
Still, managers and employees resist implementing this simple process.
Who cares about why? Just grow up and start doing a progress report. Declare your goals. Confront your results. Adjust to living in reality. Enjoy the benefits of clarity while the less disciplined fail and fail in a fog of vague expectations and inchoate regrets.
Before I explain how to format and prepare a good progress report, let’s deal with some common excuses questions.
Q: I don’t have a boss.
A: If you have (more…)
During this time they have made tremendous progress in their professional and personal lives.
Click the play button and listen to Tony Mayo talk with client Chris Haddon.
On this podcast they cover:
You may also enjoy this interview of Tony by Eric Tonningsen.
Tips for CFOs to survive the transition to value
- Give up clinging to the illusion of certainty, said executive coach Tony Mayo. Accounting is a black and white world and as such attracts people who like certainty. However, once you move from being a bookkeeper to being a CFO, you are dealing with the future rather than keeping track of the past. “We think we can control the outcomes, but we can’t, so trade certainty for confidence,” Mayo said. “Confidence that you can handle what is coming next. Rather than trying to control and constrain, let’s learn how to respond and create.”
- Understand your purpose. “If you identify yourself with a particular number occurring on a particular day, you can’t win,” said Mayo, so get clear about your purpose as a human, as an executive and as an organization.
Some of the most concise and useful personal productivity advice I have seen comes not from David Bowie, but from Peter Drucker. I have often rejected time management with the observation that time seems immune to my attempts at controlling or directing it; time just goes. Personal management is work, but it works.
Effective executives, in my observation, do not start with their tasks. They start with their time. And they do not start out with planning. They start by finding out where their time actually goes. Then they attempt to manage their time and to cut back unproductive demands on their time. Finally they consolidate their “discretionary” time into the largest possible continuing units.
–Peter F. Drucker
From The Effective Executive
Reminds me of the “Handle the big rocks first” metaphor in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy. … What is prudence in the conduct of every private family can scarcely be folly in that of a great kingdom.