Have you ever looked at your watch and asked, “What happened to today?” Have you ever been in a situation where you knew if you did not get a certain task done, the responsibility of accomplishing it would fall through the cracks, but unfortunately you did not have enough time to finish the task with the attention to detail you would have liked? Do you ever feel at the end of the day, it is never over and you still have more to do? Are you in a professional situation in which you have a very small sense of accomplishment because it feels as if you are “spinning your wheels”? If you have answered yes to any of those questions, don’t feel bad because you are not alone. Within the $30 billion global car and truck rental industry there are unfortunately thousands of frontline managers and leaders who feel the same way. The car and truck rental business is one of the most fast-paced, challenging and unpredictable businesses in the world. Committing the time to read this article, confronting the three most popular theories and implementing the five tactics addressed here will help you and your team “recapture the day.” Three Time Management Theories That Don’t Work Just as necessity is the mother of all invention, it can also be said that theories are the father of tactics and techniques. Accepting, analyzing and confronting the following theories about time management and how they relate to our industry are critical. Unfortunately all too often operators who struggle to become more productive cling to the following three theories:
1. Time Is Manageable
Although the term “time management” is the premise of this article, the main issue that comes up in thousands of performance reviews and millions of books and Web discussions is that time is not manageable! Time cannot be stopped, reversed, fast forwarded, slowed down or renewed. What is manageable is how we control our commitments, comments and actions. We have to accept the theory that time cannot be managed, but that it can be measured and monitored.
2. My Hours Worked Equals My Effectiveness
All too often operation managers equate long days with results and productivity. In the vast majority of cases this is not true. It is critical that the manager does not confuse his or her activity with productivity. This confusion exists when a manager does not have a clearly defined role. Clearly defining a manager’s role, and his or her daily, weekly and monthly responsibilities, will help him or her stay focused. Establishing a manager’s weekly three key objectives (TKOs) will provide him or her a test to measure his or her effectiveness.
3. If I Don’t Do It, Nobody Will!
This is the battle cry of the overworked, ineffective and, in some cases, insecure frontline operations manager. This same manager also falls into the mindset that the location “only runs well when I am there.” Convincing the location manager that a true testament of his or her leadership is that the operation should run just as smoothly when he or she is not there is critical. Have the location manager define the small tasks that wind up on his or her plate and then delegate them to a set of supervisors or strong frontline representatives is the most effective action to take. Training the new support team on why the tasks are critical and how to accomplish them is the next step.