How to guarantee time management improvement with the aid of psychometric profiling – In

Posted by on Jan 9, 2017 in Features | Comments Off on How to guarantee time management improvement with the aid of psychometric profiling – In

There are very few employees who wouldn’t welcome more hours in their day – not just to be more motivated, in control and profitable, and less stressed – but also to spend more quality time outside the workplace.

The benefits of actually achieving one’s daily or weekly goals, having control over more of the day, knowing the most important tasks have been tackled and leaving work as planned hugely affects individuals’ enthusiasm, drive and job satisfaction and thus has a part to play in the new ‘gross national welbeing’ that is on the agenda of so many governments these days.

Clearly there is no ‘one size fits all’ when training individuals in time management techniques, but there are fast results that ‘stick’ for the long term by relating tools to people’s personal profiles.
Take DISC profiling for example. With apologies to its inventor, Dr William Marston for the necessarily brief summaries, people can normally share the characteristics of 1, 2 or 3 of the following types:

D stands for dominant, driver, demanding. People with this profile are normally decisive, direct, strong willed, outgoing, good problem solvers, risk takers, have a strong ego and may be quick to anger. They tend to be goal oriented self-starters, preferring to lead than to follow. They are often outgoing and task oriented.

I stands for inspiring, influencing. They tend towards being talkative, persuasive and good negotiators, sociable, impulsive, optimistic – even overly trusting – and enthusiastic. Not surprisingly they are normally outgoing and people oriented.

S stands for stable, steady and more people are predominantly S than any other profile. They are likely to be patient, diplomatic, good listeners and organisers, practical, loyal team workers and kind. They are apt to be reserved and people oriented.

C stands for compliant, correct, cautious as Cs are analytical, precise individuals who love gathering facts, and have high attention to detail. They lean towards being logical, systematic thinkers who play by the rules, err on the critical side and are reserved and task focussed.

Of course some people have more than one profile in their make-up, having two or even three of the above profiles, which means some characteristics are muted by conflicting profiles or indeed magnified (eg low in D would reinforce the S’s attributes).

In time management terms,’ D’s are likely to be productive and good delegators but on the downside suffer from a short attention span, no interest in detail or repetitive tasks.
‘D’s normally benefit hugely from focussing on ‘active listening’, perhaps even paraphrasing what is being said to them to ensure they have correctly understood and are giving their colleague the feeling of being properly listened to.

Although everyone can stand to gain from ‘eating a frog for breakfast’, a philosophy and book by Brian Tracy, in my experience ‘D’s report the biggest gains. The idea is that if you do the thing of most value to you, however much you may want to resist, ‘the rest of your day will be wonderful’ as you work up a head of steam. I think ‘D’s particularly respond to this – and to Covey’s quadrant – as many are often quickly bored and need to push themselves to do (and finish) the most important things rather than the new problem interests them. See for Covey’s quadrant and other tips. Again, everyone has something to learn from Covey’s quadrant, but if my clients are representative, ‘D’s benefit the most as they are liable to be dynamic and so often prefer to deal with a new problem rather than follow through on the one they are tiring of. One ‘D’ client thought that coaching, and these techniques in particular, had saved him from a certain mental breakdown.

Junior ‘D’s who are not in a position to delegate, stand to benefit from repetitive jobs being rotated.

The implications of the ‘I’ personality on time managementis that, because loss of popularity or rejection is likely to be their biggest fear, they tend to be ‘people pleasers’, with a lack of boundaries – and thus often learning to say ‘no’ can be their biggest time saver. They therefore seem to profit more than the others by choosing ahead of the impending conversation a wording that they would accept happily if delivered to them by someone else, in order to re-educate their colleagues and customers and cut down on the amount of time they risk spending on other people’s problems.

Most also report great results as a result of getting into the habit of only allowing themselves to focus on only one (or a minimum) of jobs at a time. Until they invest in self improvement, many ‘I’s risk being easily distracted, lacking in follow through, discipline and organisation and thus benefit hugely from new habits that encourage daily priority lists, daily emptying of email inboxes, and computer and desk filing systems that save time and physical mess.

More ‘I’s come to me with time management issues than any other profile. Most are helped by using their calendars more – to include, ideally colour coded, not only meetings but everything that must not be forgotten so that they can enjoy a new sense of control and the confidence of having remembered all their priorities.

Meanwhile the ‘S’ profile is predisposed to being procedural in time management, preferring to finish one job at a time without interruptions. Whilst likely to be organised, they risk having difficulty establishing priorities and being slow to start until they have completely got their mind round the ‘how’ question. Many find it hugely helpful to work with a simple template that breaks their priorities down into the following, all time defined: the end goal, their score out of 10 as to how close to completion the project is, the first journey goal, the first actions and also, depending on the individual, their strengths that will ensure success and the likely obstacles. A single chart can hold the details for say their 6 key projects and once having broken it down into these ‘bite-size’ chunks, speed up delivery. Once started, the ‘S’ profile is likely to show great follow through.

The ‘S’ style also tends to avoid confrontation, seeking acceptance whatever the cost, which means time may well be wasted in inner turmoil when the best route would have been to speak honestly about what is bothering them. Finally, as a general rule it often works well for them to be more critical at the outset as to which jobs they should genuinely take ownership of and which are really other people’s agendas – the typical S is such a supportive, caring person that he/she risks taking on other people’s responsibilities.

Finally ‘C’s are often in danger of being so organised and meticulous that they suffer from ‘paralysis of analysis’ when they get bogged down in details. They can risk being over careful, needing to see every fact and figure before deciding and taking no chances, and thus may spending longer than their project necessarily needs – whilst another project is delayed as a result.

‘C’s seem to have the most trouble delegating, perhaps because they have such high standards that they fear no-one will do the task quite like they would. By learning to judge at the outset which tasks should involve others, and asking for each task ‘is this something I can delegate’, they can achieve so much more. For those who find it hardest to delegate, let them first of all hand over to another high ‘C’ who will more than likely share their perfectionist traits! And let ‘C’s beware of micromanaging – important instead to give a good brief with clear objectives and all the support that is needed.

Rather than do the present task to a standard higher than is really necessary, at the risk of delaying another, it makes sense for perfectionists to try giving themselves a specific amount of time, say half an hour per project before moving onto the next one. It can also be useful to apply the 80/20 rule: ie focus on the 20% of your time in the last week/month/term that yielded 80% of the results.

Of course any coaching or training must also take into account techniques that work equally well for all profiles: such as adopting a ‘one touch’ approach to emails, and filling out a time log of time spent for a week. And naturally any of the profiles can be procrastinators and they need to employ a couple of the tools on offer to address this.

By matching time management tools to the personalities of individuals, the art of bespoke time management is more quickly learnt and is less likely to drop away in times of stress, giving a satisfying sense of productivity and fulfilment.

About the Author

Diana Jervis Read is widely respected as a leading coach in time management and leadership who overlays all her coaching and events with profiling. As a presenter, mentor and coach she is passionate about improving the profitability of companies and raising individuals’ job satisfaction. She ran 2 award winning PR consultancies for over 20 years and was a board director of the largest global marketing group of the early 90s, FKB.