A personal approach to organizational time management
The biggest and most destructive myth in time management is that you can get everything done if only you follow the right system, use the right to-do list, or process your tasks in the right way. That’s a mistake. We live in a time when the uninterrupted stream of information and communication, combined with our unceasing accessibility, means that we could work every single hour of the day and night and still not keep up. For that reason, choosing what we are going to ignore may well represent the most important, most strategic time-management decision of all.
To illustrate, let’s look at the experiences of Todd, the head of sales in a large financial-services firm and a direct report to the CEO. Todd had been struggling to change the way people approached the sales process. He wanted more measurement. He wanted people to target prospects that were more likely to bring in higher margins. He wanted people to be more strategic about which prospects to visit versus which simply to call. Finally, he wanted them to be more courageous about pursuing “stretch” prospects where the odds of success were low but the rewards would be high—and more willing to ignore prospects whose accounts weren’t likely to be particularly profitable.
“I’ve told them all this multiple times,” Todd said. “I’ve even sat them through a long training. But their behavior isn’t changing. They’re still selling the same old way to the same old prospects.”
Todd’s salespeople knew what he wanted from them and were able to do it. They also weren’t lazy; they were working long hours and were working hard. Rather, the problem was that Todd’s salespeople thought they could do it all. That’s why they resisted segmenting their markets or measuring the potential of each prospect before planning a visit: they didn’t want to miss any opportunities. Yet because their time was limited, and they didn’t prioritise, they ended up missing some of the best opportunities.
~~ taken from the McKinsey Quartely
When did you benefit by prioritizing and deliberately choosing to ignore some prospects?