The 17 Minutes
I have this theory, actually it’s more than a theory, since I’ve proved it to myself and experienced it in countless other situations, especially with business people that I refer to as customer service OR management champions. This is it – you are getting paid for the 17 minutes a day you make a major (significant) contribution to a companies operation. In other words, the 17 minutes a day you, and pardon my language here, save the company’s ass. What you do the rest of the time is quite secondary. It’s those 17 minutes that make or break you in the eyes of your boss.
I know managers who have been terminated within a short time after starting a new job or receiving a promotion to a more senior position because they FAILED to successfully perform during their 17 minutes in the spotlight. Management champions NEVER FAIL to perform brilliantly at these occasions. They work for them, they thrive on them and expect those who report to them to know how to similarly cope.
You never know when these critical 17 minutes are going to occur and in most businesses they can. will and do happen at anytime. There is no business operation immune from crisis. For those that think they can delegate away the responsibility for the 17 minutes, don’t. I guarantee that person will soon have your job. Save those glorious minutes for yourself.
You say give me some examples of this “more than a theory” of yours. Will do. You get into the office and sit, that is, if you get the chance to sit. The telephone rings and you find out that two of your truck drivers (late last night) have taken the wrong trailers from your DC (distribution center ie: warehouse) and are headed in the wrong direction. Everybody is furious. The president of your company just got back two major accounts and promised them material that is on these trucks.
You look at your watch. Two minutes have passed so far – you have only 15 minutes to save the day and be a hero. No problem for any customer service or management champion. What? The inventory manager says a part was in stock, but the 2nd shift operations crew couldn’t find it – there is a concrete pour and the customer is desperate for the material? What? Your raw materials vendor has just informed you that they’re running late on production of that material that is needed to meet customer demand?
Tick, tick, tick – six minutes have gone by. You say you have all day to tackle these problems and solve them one by one? Well, maybe where you work it’s fine to do that, but not where I’ve supervised and certainly not where my fellow champions work. People want answers and it is your job to give it to them and quickly. This is not the time for drones, dinosaurs or bureaucrats.
Wait a minute, the operator has transferred some guy named Murray to you – he’s from a broker and needs some “advise” on something. Get rid of Murray – 4 seconds wasted! Get on your tablet and notify everyone (most of whom are their losing their minds) concerned that that the problems have been addressed and solutions implemented. Wait, you still have three minutes to spare. What shall you do? So much brilliance, so little time. Call your boss and tell him that you’ll call the two big accounts he just got back, explain to them the situation and inform them their material is on the way.
Congratulations, champion, you saved the day! Don’t sweat the details. You are a hero. One small example of how this works. No matter how large the company is it all boils down to these 17 minutes. Lawyer, doctor, engineer, social media or customer service manager, it doesn’t matter what your discipline or function is. If it takes more than these 17 minutes, something is wrong. You need 2-5 hours a day? You’re kidding? No way. Time to take a hard look at what you’re doing wrong. It should take you no more than 17 minutes to figure it out and come up with an action plan. By the way, I wrote this in 17 minutes.