Is Lack of Time Your Real Problem?

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On March 6, 2012

One thing I never hear as a business coach is people complaining that they have too much time to do the things they need to do. It just never happens. It’s a fact of life: If you’re in business, you’re busy. If you’re not busy, you’re probably not in businesses—or you won’t be for long!

Still, a lot of business people complain that they simply don’t have enough time to accomplish everything that needs to be done. And that complaint surfaces (more often than not) when something that should have been done, didn’t get done—resulting in loss of sales, increased costs, or loss of opportunity.

I’d like to challenge the assumption that lack of time is the real culprit. In my experience dealing with companies, what’s chalked up as a failure due to lack of time is often really a lack of decision. The main problem is not that we don’t have the time to do something right—it’s that we haven’t decided to do it right and that we haven’t taken the follow-up actions to make sure it’s done right.

Let’s say your company makes measuring equipment for scientific labs. Precision is critical. You put a lot of time, effort, and money into creating high-quality measuring devices, and you get a bunch of orders. You run out of time, so you send them out without testing them—and they fail. Was lack of time the culprit? Nope. Your decision (or lack of decision) about the importance of testing is the problem. If you had decided that rigorous testing was essential, you would have built it into the schedule or delayed shipment until the testing could be done. Will you have another chance with the lab that received faulty equipment? Probably not.

Often, when trying to come to a decision, the first thing that needs to happen is that a leader needs to figure out which questions to ask. If you don’t ask the right questions, you won’t get the right answers. Then you can’t make the right decisions. You have to determine what’s really important—essential—for your business. And you need to ask hard questions to reach that determination.

Don’t complain of lack of time when lack of decision is the main problem. What decisions do you need to make to take it up another level? I’d love to chat with you about how to ask the right questions for your business—so that you can make the right decisions.

If you have time, of course!