Time Span and Being Mindful

Leave the first response July 13, 2009 / Posted in Mindful Business, Mindful Leadership, Mindfulness

Dear friend and fellow Vistage Chair Tom Foster continues to bring the work of Elliot Jaques to the business community. This little piece about Time Span is helpful in realizing our role in creating the space where we find ourselves. I paraphrase the title of a book, that I often use, written by Jerry Harvey, author of Abilene Paradox, and a champion of Jaques work: When the knife is in my back, why are my fingerprints on it?

Calibrating Time Span
Posted to ManagementBlog.org on July 13th, 2009 by Tom Foster

From the Ask Tom mailbag:

Now that I know more about Time Span, I realize I have over promoted someone beyond their capability. What can I do to repair the damage? I need this person’s skills, but they are floundering in this new position.

You have already taken the first step. You have accepted responsibility for your dilemma. Often, we blame the floundering team member when it was our miscalculation.

Now, that you understand Time Span, your next move is to calibrate task assignments (goals) within the Time Span capability of the person. To understand the Time Span of the task assignment, you have to trace your way back to the goal. A goal is a “what, by when.” The “by when” of the goal is the Time Span of the task.

If you list out the Time Span of the former task assignments (where the team member was successful) along with the Time Span of the new task assignments (where the team member is having difficulty), you will likely see a pattern. This pattern will be helpful in determining what Time Span task assignments are appropriate.

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