Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Archive for the tag “Stress”

Time Management and Satisficing

Massage by Steve Woods

Massage by Steve Woods

Satisficing is defined as ‘a decision-making strategy which attempts to meet criteria for adequacy, rather than to identify an optimal solution’ – Wikipedia. It is a blend of words: satisfy and suffice.

Most tasks tend to expand to fill the time that we give to do them.

I started thinking about whether satisficing could help explain why it is sometimes possible to create some great work in the 30 minutes before a deadline and yet produce a similar quality (if more long-winded) product if you’ve given yourself a day to do it.

I wrote about whether I create these time bound situations myself to thrive better under stress. Now I wonder whether satisficing is the flip side of this. That of producing something that satisfies and is sufficient for the time given.

Read more…

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Mind Control and the Completeness Obsession

Network Neurons by Gerard79

Network Neurons by Gerard79

I’m thinking a lot about whether I trust myself.

Not in the bigger sense of being out of control at certain points (I’ve controlled those remaining outposts of wildness over the years: only now to be seen when an invited house guest..) No, I mean whether I trust my mind enough. When I wrote about trusting my creativity within confined time slots I kind of papered over the nagging little voice.The nagging little voice is an element within me that is both good and bad. One of my strengths and also my hindrances? I talk a good game about taking an 80:20 approach. To operating within the time slots. But the little voice is always there in different guises.And what does it say? First, it continually asks ‘why’? Good in a number of ways, but it wants to know how and why things work from a people perspective. All the time. And sometimes it doesn’t relent until I’ve settled. The bad side of this is that it is over-rationalising and attempts to compartmentalise too rapidly at times. It attempts to exert too much mind control and not allow the grey. Read more…

Strategy as Stress Survival

Nearly thirty years ago the Thomsons sold out of print newspapers, selling The Times and The Sunday Times to Murdoch. In 2007 they sold their college textbooks arm for a $2bn premium, making an offer for Reuters with the proceeds in the same month Murdoch increased its newspapers exposure with its bid for Dow Jones.

The FT’s article (30/12/09, Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson) exploring family businesses and long-term strategic decision-making also highlights the importance of paranoia and values in business leadership.

Without long-term planning and the projection of risk exposures, a company cannot look to add value over time. Past this management speak though, a healthy self-awareness and translation of leadership team stress, paranoia and questioning into strategy evaluation and revision/ actions is fundamental.

Allan Leighton (sits on several boards, inc. Selfridges and BSkyB) is quoted in another FT article (6/1/10, Judgment Call – What is the right attitude for leaders to take this year?):

‘Stay close to the detail of your business, worry frequently, don’t be complacent, and look after your people. Survive and thrive.’

‘Business needs to adapt to the new realities and get on with driving momentum, being proactive and looking for ways to keep edging forward, remembering that flat is often the new up’

Strong leadership is not a one person game. The leader – in position because of knowing what those who would be led need to be led – drives both the momentum and the action, but should also drive the questioning. Historic decisions of even the last month should be re-challenged in light of all current data and experience.

The fulfilment of the mission and big hairy audacious goals should provide the direction and framework; this should equate with the company’s best ability to deliver total stakeholder return over time (defined in both monetary and non-monetary terms).

What happens day to day, week to week and month to month should be guided by a clear bridling of your stress and paranoia as a leadership team in pursuit of the right strategic decision-making/ revision-making.

Continually switching strategies or strategic procastination/ incontinence are both unacceptable. Continually questioning yourself and whether you are doing the right things now – based on your business values – to achieve your long-term mission, is a necessity.

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