RULES FOR FEEDING MONKEYS Rule 1: Monkeys should be fed or shot Rule 2: The monkey population should be kept under control Rule 3: Monkeys should be fed by appointment only Rule 4: Monkeys should be fed face to face or by telephone, but never by mail Rule 5: Every monkey should have an assigned feeding time
BACKGROUND Article authored by William Oncken Jr. and Donald L Wass Appeared in Nov-Dec 1974 issue of Harvard Business Review Among HBRs two bestselling reprints ever Talks about principles of efficient time management at the workplace
KNOW YOUR TIME Boss-imposed time: Choose to neglect at your own risk System-imposed time: Can be neglected, but there will be consequences Self-imposed time: Your free time! However, Self-imposed time taken up by peers/subordinates => “Peer / Subordinate-imposed time.” Remaining free time => “Discretionary time.”
MANAGE YOUR TIME DO NOT TAMPER WITH BOSS TIME OR SYSTEM TIME!!! Self-imposed time can be managed effectively Strive to increase discretionary-time and reduce peer/subordinate time Where does the monkey fit in???
ADOPTING A MONKEY A peer/subordinate approaches you with a problem You know enough to get involved, but not enough to resolve the problem on the spot. “Let me think about it and I’ll let you know” Your peer’s/subordinate’s monkey jumps on your back. Congratulations! You have adopted a new pet!
MONKEYS AS PETS Screaming monkeys on your back require constant care and feeding. Responsibility of feeding/care diverts attention from boss- time and system-time Accumulating monkeys eats away self-imposed time Creates bottlenecks for other employees who await your decision/help
RESTORE THE MONKEY TO ITS RIGHTFUL OWNER Transfer the initiative Identify the owner Help him feed his monkeyFun Fact: Monkeys can sleep peacefully on theirowner’s back
RULE #1 Monkeys should be fed or shot. Otherwise, they will starve to death and the manager will waste valuable time on post-mortems or attempted resurrections.
RULE #2 The monkey population should be kept under control It should always be below the maximum number for which you have time to feed
RULE #3 Monkeys should be fed by appointment only The manager should not have to be hunt down starving monkeys and feed them on a catch-as-catch can basis.
RULE #4 Monkeys should be fed face to face or by telephone, but never by mail. Documentation may add to the feeding process, but it cannot take the place of feeding.
RULE #5 Every monkey should have an assigned feeding time These may be revised at any time by mutual consent, but never allowed to become vague or indefinite. Otherwise, the monkey will either starve to death or wind up on your back.
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