Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Working Hours - Azara Feroz Sayed

Currently, I am not leading teams and don't work long hours. This was a conscious decision taken - to take more responsibilities at home at the cost of giving up on responsibilities at work. Always keep wondering how could I have kept the balance - do try to lookup for a leader to model (NLP) while I read.

The below site features some of the leaders and how they work long hours which also is a pointer to their strong passion!

One striking point was, most of them have assistants (next level of support) screening emails, documents. This 'next level of support' is a team that these leaders have been working with for, more than 10yrs and are trusted. In IT, these seems next to impossible. The single most thing that would have made my work life easier would have been delegation and 100% trust that the task delegated would be completed without followup. Why is this so difficult? Don't my manager count on me for that?

The IT leaders love their emails - couldn't believe that. I wish, I had the freedom to have a perpetual out-of-office active for my email saying 'There will be delay in responding to emails. If it is urgent please reach out to me or XXX'. I beleive an emergency cannot be resolved in email. Offcourse, at the same time ensuring, every call on the cellphone is a urgent one. Unfortunately, you don't have the luxury in a service industry where the out-of-office message could be going out to your customer and you need to be available to the customer all the time. Some of the managers I worked with - don't read their emails or rather read emails from a select few - I don't think we have that option! We certainly need to prioritize the time to be spent in browsing the content for some mails over time spent in understanding the contents and responding to those appropriately. It is better to let people know you are not reading emails all the time - to ensure nobody is waiting for a response back from you sooner. I wish, I could limit email time to every 5-15 mts break that AG Lafley takes for recharging himself.

Some keypoints I noted
1. From the feature on Hank Palson (the article is outdated - he is now ex Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs), I could see discipline is one way of controling your work life. Letting everybody know your business hours and sticking to it.
2. The key to controlling Bill Gross's (CIO, Chief Investment Officer - not Chief Information Officer - for Pimco) busy work day is a hour long spent in yoga in the middle of the day to clear the mind
3. For Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, it is a long day from 5.00am (catching up with Europe) till late in the night(catching up with Asia) on the day to day stuff. That would be tiring! The passion would be so strong to never feel the long work hours! Interestingly, he doesn't uses emails at all and believes in stayin in touch with people personally - congratulating them for the good work for the day or understanding the challenges. Can't imagine how it would have been for him with the recent 600 store closing for a person who works so closely on day to day operations.
4. Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault(France) and CEO of Nissan(Japan). Carlos believes in looking at a problem from a distance helps to create better ideas and recharging (spending time with family) helps to look at the problem from more distance with extra strength and creative ideas
5. AG Lafley, Chairman and CEO of P&G. He believes in recharging himself with 5-15 minutes break to talk to people, managing energy levels by eating small meals 6 times a day and in minimizing information onslaught


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