Entries in Zahn (1)


7 Steps To Get More Done With Less In 2013

The new year has just begun and already one of my clients (who I'll call Robert) is feeling the pressure to get "it" done, whatever "it" is. Chances are you and Robert have something in common; you're on the hook to deliver even more than you did last year and you'll probably have to get it done with the same number of people or fewer. Sound familiar?  As far as I can figure, the only way to get more done with less is to work smarter, not harder, because every day still only has 24 hours.

Leading Versus Managing:

There's a huge opportunity for individuals like Robert to learn how to lead by influence rather than managing with the illusion of control.  Peter Block (, to whom I am forever grateful for giving me my first shot as an Organization Development consultant, once said: "Managers push and leaders pull."  That's stuck with me for nearly 20 years. I've since come to realize that there are physical laws that support Block's perspective. For example, we've all heard of gravitational pull, but gravitational push?  I don't think so.  So how do you accomplish more with less?

7 Steps To Get More Done With Less In 2013:

1) Be crystal clear about your most important objectives; these are the bulleyes to keep in sight at all times. I suggest you limit yourself to three at any given time, since this is the capacity for the typical human brain.
2) Look yourself in the mirror and acknowledge where your strengths lie and where your weaknesses are hidden. (Promise yourself not to blink!) Write or input your +'s/-'s somewhere that you can view them weekly. One of my clients has them pop up as reminders on his iPhone.
3) Surround yourself with people who round out your weaknesses, not just complement your strengths. In other words, don't pack your team with people in your own image.  Instead, strive to build an inclusive team of diverse individuals.  Does that thought make you feel a little uncomfortable? Good.  Keep going -- you're onto something.
4) Take inventory to identify each individual's and your team's strengths and shortcomings in a non-judgmental way.  Write them down. Keep your inventory someplace handy and refer to it when you're about to assign a project.
5) Be a flexible delegator.  No, I don't mean assigning projects from the lotus position. Instead, I suggest you assign and follow up on projects in a style that matches your team member's degree of engagement in and competence for the task(s) on hand.  In other words, strive to assign "round-peg" tasks to "round-peg" people and "square-peg" tasks to "square-peg" people. And remember to share the wealth so everybody gets a chance to work on a cool project every now and then.
6) Provide positive and developmental feedback to your team regularly. As Maureen McGuire, Chief Marketing Officer of Bloomberg LP once told me, "Coaching doesn't have to be long and dragged out. It can happen over a quick cup of coffee or as a drive-by conversation in a hallway."
7) Express gratitude to others. According to a 2009 National Institutes of Health study (Zahn, et al, 2009), feeling and expressing appreciation for others stimulates the hypothalamus region of the brain which, in turn, controls appetite, thirst, and sleeping. Stimulation of the hypothalamus also has a positive influence on individual metabolism and levels of stress. Bottom line, being grateful every day is a good for business and personal relationships, and it's good for you, too. Now that's something to celebrate.