Avoiding the Maze

When I was in the air force back in 1981, the government had just about zero limit on their hiring budget. They were hiring so many people, that we ended up with about four men per job. In a standard forty-hour week,

I think I actually produced only about sixteen-hours of real work. Nobody cared how much value you brought to the organization – just as long as you showed up on time, and clocked out after the siren sounded at 5pm. And best of all – every Christmas we all received bonuses, and promotions were handed out like lollipops on Halloween.

You get paid for the value you bring to the market

Not the amount of time you spend at work”

-Jim Rohn-

This hiring mentality was not limited to the government sector only, but spilled over into many private organisations. Banks, mining giants, oil companies, and many others were bloated with staff in almost every department. In-fact, until quite recently, several industries including mining, still held this mentality. However, things have changed dramatically, and unless you bring sufficient value to the marketplace today, you will be noticed, and you will not succeed.

The days have now long gone, when those who arrived at 7am and left at 7pm are thought of as valuable employees simply for showing up. Of course, if those twelve-hour work junkies are actually productive during all twelve hours, they’d be heroes to senior management right up until the day they burn out.

I can tell you from experience that very few twelve-hour junkies are productive, unless you consider winning nine out of every ten games of solitaire productive. And hey, having drinks with your favourite customers until the kids have gone to bed, does not qualify as being productive either. Especially when you’re expensing those drinks to the company and calling it work.

“Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job”

-Jim Rohn-

In today’s modern working environment, most good companies have systems in place which allow them to accurately assess the actual value of an employee. A company I recently worked for were able generate a report at any stage to see precisely what my time had been spent on every day.

They knew which customers I visited, the time of my appointments, the reason for the visits, the outcomes of the meetings, and what I had planned as follow-up actions. This is becoming standard practice across the globe today, and employees are now being held accountable for their daily actions. Your time is money, and you will be measured accordingly by your employer.

For those people who want to succeed, and understand the value of being a productive member of a team, this is great news. Unfortunately for those of you who thought success meant showing up in a cool suit, and going for drinks with your favourite clients, you’re in for a very rude awakening. Companies that have these productivity measurement processes in place will improve and grow, while others fall behind. We should all be trying our hardest to find employment in the former.

Either you accept the way the workplace has evolved, or prepare yourself for many short-lived careers. I’ve been working for almost thirty-six years now, and I’ve witnessed the evolution from the days of the deadwood floating around without being noticed, and living the dream – to a new advanced world, where the deadwood is chopped up and discarded, making room for those who appreciate the value of time.

I think I really need to stress this point again. If you like the idea that productive people are reaping the rewards, rather than those who simply show up for sixty hours each week, because they hate being at home – then you’re alive during the best possible time in history. All you now have to do is manage and utilise your time productively, and you will live a life of balance and financial wellbeing.

“The bad news is, time flies – The good news is, you’re the pilot”

-Michael Altshuler-

Whether you’re a senior executive in a multi-billion-dollar corporation, a working mother, or a junior sales assistant in a department store – Good time management is a critical part of succeeding without burning out. Now, I know many people have attended time management seminars, and read countless books about it. However, all you really need is to understand the key rules, and you’ll improve your time management skills in no time at all.

I recall in about 2005, while I was contracting to a large oil company, the entire sales force, along with a massive marketing division, were instructed by the regional director that they had to improve their time management, or they would face serious consequences. This guy was a man of his word, so the managers of these two divisions did not take his threat lightly.

Within a few days, they had devised a strategy, and before anyone knew what hit them, they were all receiving dates in their calendars, informing them about the compulsory time management training they were to attend. All the managers were super proud of themselves, and strutted around like peacocks as they celebrated their success. You see, they truly believed they’d now done their part, because only the non-management staff were bad at managing their time. That’s obviously why they were not yet managers. Sounds logical… right?

These brilliant leaders had instructed their personal assistants to put together a six-week strategy. During this time, each person would be spending one full day per week either in group training, one-on-one counselling. Added to this, they would all be attending an all-day seminar in the final week, and on the very last day, everyone including the managers of course – would have a team-building day at some really expensive location. This way, the managers would have the opportunity to find out from their people, exactly how successful their six weeks had been.

Unfortunately for these awe-inspiring senior managers, their director got wind of their magnificent plan and almost fired the lot of them. He then arranged for everyone, including the managers, to attend five two-hour training sessions. These sessions ran from Monday through Friday, staring at 7.30am each morning, and were held in the hotel a few blocks away. This way, everyone was back at work by no later than 10am each morning.

I think the managers received their first lesson in good time management before the training even started. Not to mention the fantastic lesson in “killing” time Vs. “Wasting” time. What would have cost the company tens of thousands, ended up coming in at a fraction of the cost, and minimal productivity was lost in comparison to the original plan.

Yours in Truth


D.C. West

Changing Lives – One book at a time