As a new manager, Jordan was excellent at facilitating team and one-on-one decision-making meetings. Her boss praised her for creating an environment of mutual trust, open sharing, creativity, and energy. However, Jordan was continually disappointed in the output of the team. Work was not getting done when she was expecting it to get done.
Instead of letting this frustration get the best of her, Jordan did some reflection and observation of how she was leading meetings. As a result, a simple answer emerged. Mutually agreed upon time expectations were rarely established and communicated. Because Jordan was excellent at organizing her time and getting things done, she assumed everyone else was.
Jordan decided to do a personal leadership challenge to see if her “time” theory was correct. She set a personal goal of making sure there were agreed upon time commitments that were clearly stated and written down at the end of every meeting. She committed to doing this for one month. She also shared this goal with her team and manager to gain their support.
At the end of that month, Jordan saw a dramatic change. Ninety-two percent of the goals were accomplished either on time or early. The eight percent of the goals that were not completed on time were discussed, evaluated, and assigned new agreed upon outcomes and time commitments.
One responsibility of a leader is to build alignment among people. Establishing and communicating clear time commitments helps to build alignment. Time is simply a measurement tool. The beauty of time is that it is an internationally agreed upon standard. Yes, there are time-zone differences and cultural expectations about time. However, March 10th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time is a fact. That date and time will arrive. Thus, take the time and be the voice that establishes clearly defined time expectations.