Tiny tweaks lead to big changes

Submitted by Alex Smith on Wed, 19/8/2015 - 12:21

I don’t know about you, but I spend part of my spare time outside of work reading books about management, leadership and communication skills. I ought to point out that this is due to the nature of the courses I teach – I specialise in project management and soft skills courses, and so it's necessary that I keep up with the many varying observations people have on these topics, with the beneficial side-effect of making me a better-informed and more interesting person (cough).


As such, a while ago I found myself (as a result of a colleague’s recommendation) reading Peter Drucker’s The Essential Drucker, in the author’s words, 'a coherent and fairly comprehensive introduction to management'. In this book, which collates Drucker’s key findings with regards to management over a 60 year career, one concept illustrated is that of the ‘knowledge worker’.


Drucker defines the ‘knowledge worker’ as a person whose job is to ‘think for a living’, examples include doctors, architects and software engineers to name but a few. The idea here is that such people are subject matter experts, having had a great deal of education and experience in their area of expertise, and as such don’t need to be told how to do their jobs.


This can pose a degree of difficulty for those that are charged with managing knowledge workers, as they're not expected to get involved in the intricacies of the work being undertaken, as this may irritate and demotivate a knowledge worker, but need to ensure that main objectives are understood whilst removing any obstacles which may prevent a knowledge worker from accomplishing their aims.


In an environment where this is the dynamic, the difficulty knowledge workers face is that because they're given a degree of autonomy, they're in charge of managing their own time, and unfortunately many people don’t do this effectively. People fail to prioritse tasks effectively, they procrastinate, overly focussing on low-return tasks and get distracted easily, which of course impacts negatively upon their ability to meet their objectives.


However, to quote Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, ‘tiny tweaks lead to big changes’. Quite often, massive sea changes to the way people operate on a daily basis are not necessary, in fact a seemingly minor change can have a huge positive impact. Our Time Management course is aimed at encouraging people to think about the way they currently manage their own time, and provide them with tools and techniques they can use on their return to work to improve their productivity.


This has applications that reach further than day-to-day ‘business as usual’ – statistically one of the main reasons that projects fail is that people don’t manage their time effectively, a problem not always solved by putting people on accredited project management courses.


Should this be of interest to you, take a look at our Time Management course.