Principles of Self Management – Strengthening Anticipation, Deliberation, and Stress Tolerance

Entrepreneurs and leaders must first motivate themselves if they are to establish an environment that motivates others. However, being motivated also means applying the discipline of self management to strengthen personal, professional, and enterpriship (entrepreneurship, leadership, and management) competencies. As such, entrepreneurs and leaders become role models.

Self management is an underlying discipline that applies the techniques of the managerial role (planning, organizing, executing, measuring, evaluating, and adjusting) to personal activities. Hence, the personal competencies of anticipation, deliberation, and stress tolerance improve. As a consequence, an individual’s ability to perform personal, professional and enterpriship (entrepreneurship, leadership, and management) activities strengthens. Thus, an individual becomes a role model for an effective and efficient work style to others.

The scope of the self management discipline includes prioritization, time management, space management, resource management, follow-through, and stress management. It also means living by a set of personal values and guiding principles.

Prioritization:

Prioritization is about managing activities based upon value. The simplest method is to apply the Pareto principle (eighty percent of benefit comes from twenty percent of the effort). However, the principle should be applied twice so as to address the top four percent of the activities first that account for approximately 64 percent of the benefit.

The method is applied by creating a list of activities and then assigning priorities as A, B, and C items – A having the highest priority, B having medium priority, and C having the lowest priority based upon contribution to value. The A items should account for no more than twenty percent of the entire list, and the C items should account for no less than ten. The principle should then be applied again to the A items as AA, AB, and AC. The AA items account for about four percent of the entire list.

The list should be visible, reviewed, and updated on a regular basis. Attention must be given to resolving AA items, and the eliminating of as many C items as possible.

New items will be added to the list from time to time, and the list should be recreated from scratch as necessary. Old C items usually drop off in this process.

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Time management:

Time management is an extension of the prioritization technique, but relates to the scheduling of activities. Time frames can differ depending upon the types of activities and value, and can range from minutes to years. Time management begins with how an individual lays out their own schedule, and how they interact with others.

The key is to determine the time frame for each activity, and layout schedules in blocks of time with slots. The activities should be listed and prioritized, and then assigned to the slots. Schedule contingency should be allowed for by assigning up to 85 percent of the available slots. That way, if there are overruns, or if unanticipated events occur, there is some room within the schedule to accommodate extra activities. Priorities should be reviewed regularly.

An individual should be careful about communicating with others with a different time perception. For example, strategic planners think long-term, but production staff tend to think short-term. An information technology strategy may take five years to implement, but the response times of resulting systems may be have to occur within seconds, or fractions of seconds for process control systems.

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Space management:

Space management is about arranging physical layouts ranging from desktops to entire communities. It begins with how an individual lays out their own workspace, and how they interact with others. Space management is based upon communications needs and workflows between related parties.

The further parties are located from each other, the less they are motivated to communicate, especially if they are on different time zones. Crises are the exception, and actually force parties to communicate. Effective globalization requires establishing strong communications capabilities between the various parties around the world.

In urban areas, it is usually necessary to densely pack people, equipment, and inventory into small facilities. Some individuals are bothered by the close proximity of people and objects around them, and the potential for background noise, whereas others are not. Music can be used to reduce distractions from background noise, and create ambiance.

An individual should be careful about communicating with others with a different space perception. For example, strategic planners think globally, but others may think locally. An electronic product design may require large drawings that represent components that are fractions of millimeters apart.

The Chinese practice of feng shui is becoming more popular in the West. Definitions vary, but in general the practice relates to organizing environments and the objects within them, such as facilities and equipment, to promote balance, happiness, harmony, health, and prosperity.

Resource management:

Resource management is about consuming materials, supplies, and services effectively and efficiently. It begins with how an individual consumes resources, and how they influence others to do so.

Resource management is about setting budgets for resource consumption, and then monitoring the earned value – the budgeted cost of the resource consumed to date. Negative variances result from an insufficient budget or waste; positive variances result from an overly generous budget or conservation.

If time is the resource, then waste results from inefficiency, and conservation results from efficiency. Both productivity and efficiency determine if results are delivered ahead or behind schedule. Productivity is the rate at which units are produced within a time period; efficiency is the ratio of the work performed to the effort applied, and is the difference between the budgeted cost of work performed and the actual cost. Parkinson’s law states that work expands to absorb the available time.

 

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Follow-through:

Follow-through is about carrying an activity through to its natural completion. It is easier to start an activity than it is to complete it successfully. Natural completion includes determining the consequence of an event or activity once it has occurred by getting feedback on results. It includes both quantitative and qualitative information.

How an individual asks for feedback on their own performance determines what they expect from others. Follow-through starts with an individual assessing their own performance, and then asking for feedback from others. Perceptions regarding an individual’s own performance will differ from that of others. Ultimately, it’s the feedback from others that matters.

Follow-through is achieved by asking questions of constituencies, either directly or indirectly through surveys, in addition to whatever quantitative data is available about actual behavior.

Follow-through is also essential to prospecting activities. If effort is expended to identifying those people with whom to build relationships, then it is essential to follow-through to find what mutual opportunities and benefits actually exist. Follow-through is extremely important when proposals are issued. If a salesperson doesn’t follow-through on a proposal, can a prospective client or customer expect them to follow-through on the account itself? Prospective clients and customers are notorious for not following-through to deliver results to unsuccessful bidders. Therefore, bidders should always follow-through to find out status, criteria, and reasons for both acceptance and rejection, so that they can improve in the future.

Stress management:

Stress is human body’s response to demands made on it. It is the response to pressures from responsibility, to both real and imaginary threats from people, and to fear of potential negative events and activities. Stress arises when an individual moves beyond their comfort zone – their boundary for risk tolerance, especially when situations appear out of control.

Positive stress has a facilitating effect on activity; negative stress has a debilitating effect. Negative stress must be overcome otherwise illnesses can develop. Individuals who are self-motivated challenge the debilitating effects of stress by moving to action.

Stress reduction techniques include:

  • Exercising and relaxing
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs
  • Involving a support system, such as family or teammates

By applying the techniques of planning, organizing, executing, measuring, evaluating, and adjusting, an individual translates mindset into action and becomes self-motivated.

Personal values and guiding principles:

Personal values and guiding principles form a system of beliefs that set expectations for individual behavior and decision making that can be applied to personal, professional, and enterpriship activities.

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An individual’s attention self management is a determinant of their suitability for advancement. If an individual can’t manage their own affairs well, then how can they be expected to manage someone else’s?

Entrepreneurs, lifestyle enterprise owners, executives, and managers must balance both long-term and short-term mindset with action to ensure that important items get done on a timely basis, without losing focus on the future.

Self management is an enterpriship (entrepreneurship, leadership, and management) competency.

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The notions of Individualpreneurship and enterpriship have been developed by The Business Leadership Development Corporation.
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