How often do you get to the end of the day and wonder where all the time went? If you answered “too many times to count,” you’re not alone. Think about all you have to do: drive revenue growth and profitability, manage your team, promote customer satisfaction, and develop yourself. It’s no wonder you feel like you’re always playing catch up.
Time management experts have been offering advice for years, but not from a risk management perspective. This article will help you apply a risk management lens to your priorities and determine the key elements of your job and the key issues you should spend your time on.
Managing your portfolios is your #1 priority – everything else should appear lower on your to-do list. But how much time should you spend on them?
#2 Revenue Growth and Profitability
Your job is to seek good growth and avoid bad growth. That’s a no-brainer but making the risk and reward trade off decisions that positively impact your bottom line takes time. Spend time developing a system for distinguishing good from bad growth. A decision tree is a great tool for this. Initially you might spend 50 percent of your time on revenue growth and profitability, but once your system is in place and working well this responsibility may only take 30 to 40 percent of your time.
#3 Managing Your Team
The difference between great managers and good managers is that the teams of great ones can function without them. Your team should be prepared to take on the responsibility of managing your portfolios and keeping your business plans on track. Be sure that they have great training, communication, and support. After managing your portfolios, this responsibility is as important as developing revenue growth and profitability and should take about 10 percent of your time.
So why are you spending so little time on something that’s so important? One word – delegation! Your team members learn best by doing. Don’t pass the buck and certainly don’t put your business at risk. At first, assign tasks they have the experience and resources to complete. Then take small steps by giving them slightly more complex assignments that require a little of your time to guide them through. Build on the assignments until they’re proficient at the more challenging tasks. Investment in your team members will pay in time savings dividends in the long run.
#4 Customer Satisfaction
Losing a customer has a direct impact to your bottom line. Customer satisfaction is the key to retaining customers and getting them to refer friends and family to you. Make sure your team members understand customer satisfaction should be one of their top priorities. If they commit themselves to understanding your customers’ needs, then you won’t have to spend as much time resolving customer problems and issues. It’s difficult to gauge how much of your time will be spent in this area since you can’t always anticipate customer needs and issues, but plan on 10 percent.
#5 Manage Yourself
Don’t forget about your own professional development! Keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date through networking, reading industry articles, and attending conferences and educational events. Create a business toolkit from the resources you acquire through your development activities and use them to develop your team members also. Mark 2 – 3 hours of time on your calendar per week (about 5 percent of your time) to attend a professional meeting, network, or keep up with industry news. Pick 1 or 2 conferences or educational events to attend per year, assuming your training budget permits it.
Take a few minutes at the start of work to plan your day and determine how much of your time you’re going to devote on the four areas we touched on. Make your plan flexible enough to accommodate unexpected customer and business partner requests. By planning your day, you will manage your time and not let it manage you.