Valuing Time

I never thought I’d turn into my dad. Growing up, he always grumbled about how late we slept during the summer and how much time we wasted in front of the TV watching “Happy Days” or “Laverne and Shirley.” I clearly remember him shouting up to my bedroom at 9:00 am, “Come on lazy bones! The day is half over!” I loved him, but as a teenager, I didn’t understand him.

Now that I’m in my mid 50’s and with having had three teenagers of my own, I completely understand him and actually find myself saying many of the same things. My boys wanted to sleep until AT LEAST noon and spend the rest of their day in front of the Xbox. Is it just that I’m getting crotchety in my old age? Maybe… but perhaps it’s just that I now see each moment of time as one that I must value.

Time is flying by.

This made me think about how I am spending my time. Nights upon nights of sitting in front of the TV or on the computer now seems such a waste. Unless we were all curled up together on the couch, laughing or crying as a family over a movie or other program, I was missing out. They all graduated and left…too soon. All that remains are the memories. More importantly, however, is understanding that the quality of those memories I have is completely up to me and how I value and leverage the time we spend together now.

What does this middle-age crisis have to do with leadership? Many things. Everything. Starting with valuing time.

Winning leaders prioritize and create importance around the things that create value toward reaching their expectations. They don’t devalue time by placing emphasis on things that don’t impact the overall results and performance of the team.

They leverage the pace and focus of their teams and themselves. They don’t let a moment go by without making the most of time. Each minute is consumed with things that make a difference. They move a team to action by creating a shared vision around the things that matter for the customers, for the team members and for the overall results. They create urgency in achieving the expected behaviors.

During slow times especially, winning leaders understand the value of time. They train. They teach. They provide coaching and recognition. They make a conscious choice to improve the quality of the talent on their team. They do everything intentionally. Nothing is left to chance.

As a dad, I’ve grown to learn that the quality of our busy lives today will determine the quality of my life after the kids are gone. Winning leaders understand that the flipside is also true; the quality of the slow times equals the quality of the busy times.

Today, let’s reflect on how we are spending our time. Are we letting the minutes tick by without impact? Are we neglecting the development, coaching, support, and recognition of our team? In essence, are we passive leaders?

Or are we active leaders? Are we leading ourselves and others with passion? Are we taking advantage of the slow times to increase the quality of our teams so that they excel during the busy times? Are we measuring our results, and reacting to them, so that we can build momentum? Are we setting clear behavioral and result expectations? Are we talking to each team member to understand what motivates them?

Winning leaders do these things. Remember… “the quality of the slow times equals the quality of the busy times.” Let’s guarantee that our quality is exceedingly high…this week and every week.

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