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Make time for reflective planning.

Managers face relentless pressures for dealing with immediate problems and responding to requests for assistance, direction, or authorization. Some of these prob-lems require immediate attention, but if managers become too preoccupied with react-ing to day- to- day problems, they have no time left for the reflective planning that would help them to avoid many of the problems, or for the contingency planning that would help them cope better with unavoidable problems. Therefore, it is desirable to set aside some time on a regular basis for reflective analysis and planning. Listen to Antonia Bryson, a deputy commissioner in New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (Haas, 1994, p. 60):

“What happens in government is that you always tend to get caught up in crises. . . . But its helpful to sit back at the end of every week and ask, is this part of my long- term plan of what I want to accomplish while I am in this job? . . . The higher up you go, the more you have to constantly examine how you are setting your own priorities. Are you going to the right meetings? Are you going to too many meetings? Are you using your staff members effectively to make sure you yourself are spending time on the right things and accomplishing what you want to get accomplished?”

 

Making time for reflective planning requires careful time management.

One approach is to set aside a block of private time ( at least 1– 2 hours) each week for indi-vidual planning. Another approach is to schedule periodic strategy sessions with subordinates to encourage discussion of strategic issues. Still another approach is to initiate a major improvement project, delegate primary responsibility to a subordinate or task force, and schedule regular meetings with the individual or group to review plans and progress.

 

Yukl, G. (2006). Leadership In Organizations. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.

 

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