I got an earful from Amy the other day, my strategic partner and founder of SMARTY, with whom I’ve been working to bring our Groups model to her markets in Los Angeles and Boston.
We were on a call with two business owners who together were going to launch a new market for us. Only one of the business owners made the call. We walked her through a detailed and intensive agenda, one that we had prepared in advance with hyper attention to the what, how and when. At the end of the call, I told her that I would summarize what we had discussed, put it in an email, and share it with both she and the other business owner. We got off the phone and Amy said, “What the he** are you doing? You’re too nice. You’re the CEO of this company, why are you re-capping all this for the woman who missed our call? The one who showed up should be doing that!” – She was right. I had accepted the care and feeding of a monkey that was not mine to take on.
What Monkey? You don’t know about the monkeys? You’d better read on then.
The annoying part is that I know better. In fact, recently in our Groups Plus program we spent a significant portion of time talking about time management and the dated but excellent Harvard Business Review article called, “Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey?” In the article, tasks are referred to as monkeys that require feeding and caring and precious time is lost when others are always passing you their monkeys to care and feed. A smart manager must learn not to accept the monkeys, or to realize that if she accepts them, she must do so only for a short amount of time and at specific times during the day.
As leaders in our companies, we have to remember to use our time wisely. It is the most valuable resource we have. Once you’ve gotten past the “I’ll just do it myself” syndrome and you’ve hired people to help you run your business, the next most important rule is to remember to avoid taking on their monkeys – or risk a serious lapse in productivity – the kind that only you can do.
Sometimes as women we’re too nice and we like to please. No matter how much we know we shouldn’t, we can still get in our own way. But now I know. And now if we have a meeting, you can bet I won’t summarize the key points for you.
PS – Here’s a picture of one of our Groups Plus members with her monkey that another member sent her as a gift. It’s a daily reminder not to let her employees give her their adorable problems!
Frederique is passionate about helping women take their businesses to the next level of growth and success. As founder and CEO of Her Corner, she applies her entrepreneurial spirit, management consulting background and business operations expertise to give women the springboard they need to move forward.