In the 1960s, while consulting for a British factory, Elliott Jaques had a controversial insight: Employees at different levels of the company had different time horizons.
Line workers focused on tasks that could be completed in a single shift; managers devoted their energies to tasks requiring six months or more to complete; Senior leaders and the CEO were pursuing goals over the span of several years.
Jacques’ Time Span of Discretion
Jaques said that just as humans differ in intelligence, we differ in our ability to handle timespans.
Each of us has a time horizon we are comfortable with, what Jaques called our “Time span of discretion”. This term defines the timespan of the longest task this individual can successfully undertake.
Organisations recognise this: workers are paid hourly, managers annually, and senior executives compensated with stock options.
The following chart shows the type of work found at each Time Horizon:
Description of Capability
Construct and pursue world wide strategic plans in the largest of the world’s corporations.
Super Corporation CEO
Construct and pursue world wide strategic plans. Place businesses in the world.
Lead the accumulated impact of multiple business units.
Optimize the function of a single business unit or corporate support staff.
Business Unit President
Manage multiple, interdependent serial projects. Balance resources among a number of departments.
Plan and carry out sequential projects while considering contingencies and alternatives.
Regional Manager or
Manager of Managers
Accumulate bits of information to diagnose and anticipate problems. Proactivity appears. Trends are noticed.
First Line Manager Supervisor
Follow predefined procedures. When an obstacle is encountered, seek help. No anticipation of problems is expected.
Shop Floor Operator
The Challenge: 100 Year Problems in a 4 Year System
Our current leadership promotional systems require you first to be successful at annual or 4 year timespans before you can move into the positions that allow you to set 50 or 100 year strategy. Politicians have 4 years to deliver an impact (and 12 months to run a campaign). Divisional managers have 1-3 years to deliver an impact if they are to be considered for 20-50 year strategic decision roles.
Climate change and Peace between warring nations are so difficult to resolve because we have a political system that elects 4 year thinkers when we really need 20 to 50 year thinkers in office.
PS What’s your time horizon? Let me know in the comments below 😉
LinkedIn is testing out a new free service for members that will match them with other professionals who can give them career advice. LinkedIn will help to make matches between mentees and mentors via its online platform.
Mentorship is a significant part of the careers of every successful person that I know. I personally have sought out and found mentors since my early 20s working in Accenture. I used to think this was normal, but I discovered over the last decade that many talented friends have never found a formal mentor relationship.
I have run the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Mentorship Program in Barcelona for the last 3 years and have learnt a lot as we have got 15 mentor-mentee pairs connected and working together to achieve specific goals. Personally I have have benefitted from some wonderful mentors throughout my life – in particular Michael (my first long-term manager at Accenture), Brian (the reason I teach at IESE Business School), Harry (helped me take a big decision last year). I personally mentor 5 people each year and it is hugely valuable for me to reflect on my own life as I listen to the challenges and opportunities of these inspiring individuals.
How will Mentorship work on LinkedIn?
Hari Srinivasan, director of product management at LinkedIn, says, “As people spend less and less time at a company, it’s hard to find people you need to talk to.” LinkedIn user analysis shows that 89% of senior leaders (on LinkedIn) would be interested in giving advice.
This is how it works: There will be a section on your profile called “dashboard”. This will display the “career advice hub” where you can sign up to be a mentor or a mentee.
The first screen is a basic overview of the function and its value for both those giving and getting advice. From there, you are instructed to provide specifics on who you’d like to talk to with parameters such as region, industry, school, etc.
LinkedIn is working on ways to make the conversation flow more smoothly so both sides get what they need. LinkedIn say that it’s not meant to be a replacement for long-term mentorship. It’s meant to tackle those “quick question” requests such as whether you are taking the right approach in different scenarios.
Do you have a mentor? Are you searching for a mentor? Are you interested in becoming a mentor?
This video is about Sequoia Capital and their 3 rules for success in leading a business. They make leadership feel very simple.. but it works. They have 30 years of track record of successfully taking on and turning around businesses.
This video is about Verne Harnish’s 5 habits of the Leaders that will succeed in the next decade.
The 5 habits are:
Ratio of “No” to “Yes”
Meals with Influencers
Calender hours on Gold Chip actions
Total brains involved in your decisions
Regular Reading and Thinking Time
Verne C. Harnish founded Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs, both international entrepreneurship organizations. He also serves as Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gazelles, Inc., a strategic planning and “executive education” company. He chairs the “Birthing of Giants” leadership program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Here’s some of the action from last week’s ScaleUp Barcelona conference:
Jack Daly says “you are either practicing in private, or you are practicing in public”.
This video is about Excellence. What is the path to Mastery? What do successful people do differently?
Success is the choice to practice in private. in this video, I also celebrate this week’s milestone: 50,000 subscribers! Thank you to all who subscribe, comment, share and contribute to the community that helps support me as I develop these ideas.
Today is Martin Luther King Day. Martin Luther King had courage as a leader to stand up for what is right. He was willing, and did finally, pay the full price as a leader.
Update: I recorded a Facebook Live video session about this post and Bill Treasurer’s new book:
Bill Treasurer’s latest book, “A Leadership Kick in the Ass” launches today, January 16. Bill is a good friend and a trusted source of expert guidance when I have questions about leadership, life and living well. The pic to the right is from Bill’s last visit to Barcelona in 2015.
I first met Bill in 1996 at Accenture’s Global Leadership Training facility in St Charles, near Chicago USA. We were put on a team of 4 consultants for a week-long training course. I loved the experience, and I gained a leadership mentor that week. Bill has gone on to publish 5 books on Leadership and speak on the stage with Marshall Goldsmith, Ken Blanchard. I’m proud to say that Bill is turning into a Leadership guru.
About this post... I did a short interview with Bill about his life and his motivations for writing this latest book. First, here is Bill himself explaining what the new book is all about...
I didn’t know where the book came from until after I wrote it! Though I’ve worked with lots of famous companies over the years, the bulk of my work has been with three unionized construction companies based in Chicago. They have a very low tolerance of leadership fru fru. If you don’t give them practical and useful stuff that works, they will chew you up and spit you out.
This book is low on theory and high on practicality. Even the title was influenced by my construction company clients. Believe me, “ass” is the tamest word I hear when I’m working with them!
What single achievement are you proudest about?
Honestly, when other parents compliment my wife and I on our kids. I love being my kids dad.
Outside of my home-life, the achievement I’m most proud of is having developed long-term relationships with my clients. In this business, if you’re not adding value, your business will fail. I love my clients, and I love the trust that we’ve built together. I consider the fact that they’ve entrusted me with the development of their leaders to be a sacred honor.
If you could speak to every person on the planet for 1 minute what would you say (what would you ask of them?)?
I would have the world start each day with 5 minutes of reflective silence. With all the technological bombardment in the world, we often move too far off-center, away from our inner wisdom.
With even 5 brief minutes of silence each day, people could become reconnected with the wisdom inside them, and collectively, humanity would be a lot better off with more wisdom and less distraction.
Who are 5 people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself?
My three children, Bina, Alex, and Ian. My wife, Shannon. And all my clients.
What is one failure you had, and how did you overcome it?
I sucked at leading. I know that because one of my employees had the courage to tell me. At first I got defensive. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right. I didn’t know who I was as a leader, so I had adopted the leadership style of my main leadership role model: my dad. Turns out, my dad was a controlling temperamental hothead, and I was mimicking him.
So I picked up my first book on leadership: The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. It lit a fire in me. I started reading more leadership books, and then entered graduate school and studied leadership. My thesis focused on the effectiveness of various leadership styles. Before long, I got better as a leader myself. Now I work with leaders as part of my professional practice. I owe that courageous employee a debt of gratitude for telling me I sucked as a leader.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I’m a gregarious loner. People sometimes mistake me for an extraverted socialite.
In actuality, I’m a very solitary person and relish my time alone. I sometimes think of myself like a full moon that you can see during the morning. I’m at my best when I am able to be a bit of an outsider, observing the world with a certain objectivity, and then sharing what I’ve observed in my books.
I can be social, but it’s just as important to me to be unsocial so that I observe the world without becoming subsumed by it.
What is one internet resource that you regularly use?
Wikipedia. Someday, when computers get integrated with human biology, I’m going to upload Wikipedia into my brain!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One of my all-time favorite leadership books is Obedience to Authority, by Stanley Milgram. When you learn how easily people capitulate to authority figures, with little or no coercion, it becomes less perplexing to see how a Hitler or other malevolent leaders emerge. Every leader needs to read this eye-opening book.
About Bill Treasurer
Bill Treasurer is the Chief Encouragement Officer (CEO) of Giant Leap Consulting, Inc. His new book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass, focuses on the crucial importance of leadership humility. He is also the author of international best-seller Courage Goes To Work, which introduced the new management practice of courage building and Leaders Open Doors, which became the #1 leadership training book on Amazon. Bill’s clients include NASA, Saks Fifth Avenue, UBS Bank, Walsh Construction, Spanx, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs, and many others. Learn more at: www.CourageBuilding.com/Kickass.
Do you plan your days, or do your days run as a reaction to what pops up? In Washington DC, one of our EO leaders at the EO Leadership Academy was Christoph Magnussen – here in this he shares a tip we learnt about how to take control of your day.
This is a lesson that was shared with the group by Warren Rustand. Warren Rustand was a White House scholar back in the 1970s and spent 4 years as the appointments secretary to President Gerald Ford. This meant that for 4 years, he controlled how President Ford spent his time.
I was in Washington DC the last 6 days teaching on the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Leadership Academy 2016. We had 28 leaders from all around the world – China, Nepal, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Canada, Germany, Australia, USA, UK. The White House was being prepared for the inauguration of the next US President.
Christophe Magnussen is an inspiring entrepreneur from Germany. We made a short video up on the roof of our hotel, overlooking the winter evening sky of Washington DC.