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ashokbhatia

It is not altogether wrong to say that it is the early worm which gets caught! Quite a few managers have perfected the art of selective amnesia and acquired honorary membership of the Global Procrastinators’ Club.COMPLACENCY

Procrastination works best when the idea is to delay a crucial decision which, if taken at that point in time, could create more problems than it would solve. Governments appear to do it all the time. The flip side is the higher probability of losing a business opportunity.

With due respects to Newton and Einstein, we do have some Laws of Procrastination:

The First Law

A task which has been put on hold will remain undone till the time an external force is applied.

The force could come either from your boss or from a peer or a subordinate. In matters of domestic chores, reluctant husbands succumb to the pressure applied by a nagging…

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It is not altogether wrong to say that it is the early worm which gets caught! Quite a few managers have perfected the art of selective amnesia and acquired honorary membership of the Global Procrastinators’ Club.COMPLACENCY

Procrastination works best when the idea is to delay a crucial decision which, if taken at that point in time, could create more problems than it would solve. Governments appear to do it all the time. The flip side is the higher probability of losing a business opportunity.

With due respects to Newton and Einstein, we do have some Laws of Procrastination:

The First Law

A task which has been put on hold will remain undone till the time an external force is applied.

The force could come either from your boss or from a peer or a subordinate. In matters of domestic chores, reluctant husbands succumb to the pressure applied by a nagging wife all the time.

Those who push you deserve to be treated with respect.

The decision to not to take up the task is still yours.Scientist IsaacNewton-1689

The Second Law

Force equals Mass multiplied by Acceleration.

For people, ‘Mass’ denotes their ego level and seniority in the company. The higher the ego/seniority, the more the force required to get a person to do the work in an accelerated manner.

It follows that the higher you happen to be in the hierarchy, the easier it is for you to indulge in the luxury of sleeping over a problem; if you are still stuck in the lower echelons, try to exert an inner push on yourself to overcome the static inertia. If you don’t, a pink slip could soon become a painful reality.

The Third Law

Any action results into an equal and opposite reaction.

If the reaction of a decision being taken by you is going to be counter-productive, take no action. Simply join the Global Procrastinators’ Club and be happy.

Theory of Procrastinative RelativityScientist Albert_Einstein

The following tenets may be considered:
• Bosses always expect you to do things at speeds higher than that of light (read thought).
• The Propensity to Procrastinate is inversely proportion to the visibility of the task at hand. A mail from a junior team member can remain unopened for a week. A mail on the same subject from the CEO has to be attended to at the speed of light.
• The Propensity to Procrastinate is directly proportional to the manager’s frame of reference. If the manager’s role model happens to be a sloppy performer, the propensity is higher. If the role model is a star performer, the propensity may vanish altogether.
• The relative difficulty of taking up a much-delayed task is directly proportional to the delay itself. The more the delay, the more difficult it is to take up that particular task.

A Statistical Approach to Procrastination

Much like in Time Series Analysis, a manager’s Propensity to Procrastinate can be explained in terms of four factors:
(a) Long term, which is inbuilt into the character and the attitude of the manager,

(b) Cyclical, determined by the performance appraisal cycle of the organization, with weeks just preceding the annual appraisal ritual registering the lowest values of Propensity to Procrastinate,

(c) Seasonal, linked to the overall mood of the organization, whether upbeat or downcast, as also to the relative importance of the issue at hand,

(d) Random fluctuations, related to the mood of either the boss or the manager.

How do you handle procrastination? Is there any facet that you would like to share by way of comments below?

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/procastrination-the-virtues-of-being-a-lazy-bum

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/career-advice-from-some-eminent-scientists)

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POLICIES

Grandiose written policies are useful to Accountants who would love to raise relevant as well as irrelevant objections on various transactions, legitimate or otherwise. These are also useful to procedure oriented executives who would love to drive innovation and imaginativeness out of the organization.

If you happen to be a big fish in a small outfit, prepare and circulate a Policy Manual only at the organization’s risk and peril. If you have to, do so with scope for flexibility, and ensure it gets updated and re-circulated at regular intervals.

In case of very large organizations, Policy Manuals end up being statements of benign intentions of the top management. Internal Audit uses these to conduct frequent audits, pointing out minor deviations and confusing the top management at regular intervals. Often, crucial deviations having long-term impact on the business are left out, thereby increasing the organization’s vulnerability in facing either a legal or a statutory compliance related tsunami.

POLITICIANS

Like them or hate them, they are here to stay. Keep them in good humor, if you definitely have to interact with their tribe. After all, they could be high either on their Utility Quotient or on Nuisance Quotient.

Keep equidistant from politicians of all hues. You never know when the opposition party’s turn to warm the treasury benches may come.

When doing a favor, keep it away from public eye. This way, you would not only keep your competitors guessing but also ensure that a change in regime would be less likely to derail your business plans.

PROMISES

Either don’t make promises; if you do, try your very best to keep them. If necessary, buy time to commit on deadlines. Surprise your boss by delivering on your promise in advance.

Do this without fail. In the long run, your brand value as a manager would grow.

PROMOTIONS

An effective tool in the management’s arsenal to reward and motivate guys who excel in their jobs.

There are two key challenges faced in case of promotions:

1.     Pressure for time bound promotions:Everyone expects to get promoted after having slogged it out at a given level in the     organization for few years. The reason you find most organizations top-heavy today is because the managements twenty years back did not pay attention to managing the aspirations of its people and instead went along with the philosophy of time based promotions!

2.     Managing is different:   Doing a job yourself is one thing. Getting it done through others is a different ball game altogether. To be a good manager, one needs to be a leader, bestowed with skills in team building, communication, delegation and supervision. Often, two-thirds of the promotions in corporates are based on the incumbent putting in an impressive show in his/her present role. Once promoted, the incumbent is left twiddling his thumbs, trying to figure out how to manage the same activity through others.

The solution possibly lies in building up a culture which rewards good performance but does not overlook the projected managerial talent of the promotee. Job rotation, counseling and job enrichment are some of the tools which a wise HR guy may use to manage the majority which deems a promotion as its birth-right based on the fourth dimension of our universe – time – alone!

A populist approach like resorting to time based promotions can only be practiced at the organization’s long term peril, unless there is an aggressive scheme in place to enforce employee separations also, that too in a time bound manner!  

PRAISE & REPRIMAND

When responding to a team member’s performance, always praise in public but reprimand in private. Try not to follow the obnoxious policy of getting rid of an utterly-butterly useless guy by humiliating him in public. Assist him in getting out-placed instead.

Be generous with your formally conveyed appreciation only at your own risk. If a swollen-headed guy falls in his subsequent performance ratings, he could well turn around to use your formal communication to promote his case for the next promotion!

PROCRASTINATION

It is not altogether wrong to say that it is the early worm which gets caught! Procrastination works best when the idea is to delay a crucial decision which, if taken at that point in time, could create more problems than it would solve. Governments appear to do it all the time. The flip side is the higher probability of losing a business opportunity.  

PUBLIC RELATIONS

In a large complex business, you may need to hire an expert to handle your public relations. Check the guy’s credentials, and sign him on for a maximum period of two years at a time. Better still, get one of the smart secretaries to handle it in-house.

 

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