I have the opportunity and responsibility of leading a 13-member team within the Vetter organization. I am blessed to be surrounded by rock stars in their areas of expertise including architecture, interior design, project management, construction management, maintenance support and purchasing. My management strategy--get out of their way and let them do their thing--is to a point. Investing in who they are is extremely important to the success of our team.
Part of that investment has involved the embracing of a monthly book club. We are in our second year of this adventure. This year, we are going old school--Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We are finding these timeless truths very enriching and thought-provoking to say the least. This past month, we dove into Habit 3, First Things First. In essence, this habit involves “self-management”. As a recovering procrastinator--and in the architectural world, I know I am not alone--this habit really hits home. How many of us in the design-consulting world allow our priorities to be dictated by clients, managing partners, the expectations of others or even the unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves? It is a challenge to manage what we don’t control!
I love the priority matrix that Covey introduces in his book. This matrix relates to two areas that impact the prioritizing of our time--urgency and importance. At a 30,000-foot level, we are to be proactive about the important things, rather than reactive to unimportant things. WOW…is this easy to say and difficult to implement!
Why do I bring this up in my monthly blog? I see our involvement in SAGE as a Quandrant II activity--Important, but not Urgent. In reality, SAGE is not much different from other volunteer organizations including faith-based organizations, professional associations, causes involving health concerns, and even our families. Those groups tend to receive our “left over” time, if we have any at all. Many of us are passionate about creating and celebrating environments for seniors that have a positive impact on the quality of their lives. How do we carve out the quality and quantity time necessary to make a difference? Covey would say to delegate or even drop the unimportant, proactively take care of the urgently important, and spend a majority of our time on the important, but not urgent.
I would encourage each of you to grab a cup of coffee, a glass of water, or an adult beverage, and spend some time thinking. Shut out the noise of the world and really think about your roles in life. Ask this deep question: "What are the three to five main purposes in my life?” Then look at your calendar and your checkbook (or online account) to see if they reflect those purposes. Unfortunately, mine didn’t. The next step involves the intentional scheduling of those priorities and purposes, with a major focus of time on the important, but not urgent. It is a journey and I will be the first to tell you that I have not arrived--and probably never will.
My hope is that once you have walked through a bit of this process, you will be able to carve out some time for an incredibly important role or purpose--being a difference maker in the lives of seniors. We have SAGE committees who need your insight and passion. The rock stars who implement these visions are begging for us to prioritize with purpose.