Weekly Thought – November 26, 2019
Fred was once referred to as an “efficiency expert.” In the 1950s as modern management theory developed this phrase became popular. But Fred did not adopt this description. His masterful understanding of people, organizational dynamics, and human practices made him helpful to American corporations.
Your continuing support of our work encourages us month by month. We are consistently reminded how timeless Fred’s thinking and writing were. Your partnerships with us allow us to continue the work. Thank you.
(Fred kept a notebook with topical illustrations from his experience. These three are excellent examples)
While consulting with Mobil Oil Corporation, VP of Marketing (Baxter Ball) and I developed a phrase which we used to minimize unnecessary work, and centralize the organization’s thinking about what Bax and I were trying to do. We coined the phrase, “Object of the Exercise.” For us this meant putting into one sentence what we were doing. We found out how seldom most people do this. Now my usual practice is to start each day by defining the work and identifying “the object of the exercise.” For me, this is the essence of time control.
One of my early bosses had a sign on his wall: “Results is the only excuse for activity.” On one occasion I was using a great many words to amplify the activity in order to cover up the meager results. Mid-sentence he interrupted me, “Fred, please, show me the baby and don’t tell me about the labor pains.” So often we get caught up in the entire labor process without ever seeing the baby. He wasn’t unkind. He taught me a valuable lesson in time control that I never forgot. And, my family will tell you they, too, have been “urged” to show me the baby!
I was having lunch with the President of a large American corporation. During the meal he told me he decided to leave his briefcase at work, never taking it home. This surprised me, for certainly I couldn’t understand any executive choosing to be so disrespectful of the responsibility to look conscientious. How could he leave his office without his briefcase? What would others think? I asked him how he could possibly depart from the time-proven image of an executive with his briefcase in hand each evening. “Simple, Fred. I found that all day long I was sorting papers, deciding which ones would go home with me at night. I stopped sorting papers and started doing my work.” I found this to be a helpful illustration of time control.
These three illustrations keep me focused on accomplishment and productivity – and away from the good Texas expression: “fixin’ to.” Managing time well is critical to living and leading well.
This week think about: 1) How well am I handling my time? 2) Which of these illustrations resonates with me? 3) What other illustrations come to mind which help me control my time?
Words of Wisdom: “What is the object of the exercise?”
Wisdom from the Word? “For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NET Bible)