People Matter More than Meetings

Budget Your Time Well

As a business grows, a leader’s time becomes more and more scarce. In the following video, Don Soderquist, retired COO of Walmart, describes how he kept track of his time. As he started evaluating his schedule, he realized that he spent too much time with programs, and not enough time with people. 

Don realized that his schedule made it difficult for his people to interact with him. He just didn’t have time for people. It took concerted effort on Don’s part to free up time to focus on his direct-reports. But when he did, he gained a greater understanding of not just the company, but of the lives of the people who worked with him. 

How difficult is it for your team members or employees to meet with you? How could you improve your availability to your people? What can you eliminate from your schedule?
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Don admits that he didn’t keep an open door all the time, but he prioritized his direct-reports and the issues they would have. How can you go and engage with the people who report to you? What stands in the way of you taking the time?
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Don points out that people gravitate toward a leader who they know will listen to them and take the time to care for them. He made a effort to engage with the hourly employees in the various stores he’d visit. He learned ways to improve from them, and they learned that their leaders cared for them. 

To you, how valuable are the every-day lives of the people you lead? How do you show care to them?
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What is one way you can show interest and care for your people today?
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Sometimes, however, you have to have meetings. In this second video, Don talks about the way he used his time evaluations. Once he recognized the things he could removed from his schedule, he was able to emphasize the important things—those things that only he could do. And sometimes that meant meetings. 

It’s important for a leader to work on those things that only that particular leader can. What things in your schedule are the tasks that only you can accomplish? What prevents you from doing those things?
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Don had regular meetings with the people who needed his input the most—his direct reports. How do you make yourself available to the people responsible to you? How do you meet their needs as leaders?
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As a leader your time is precious. It’s important that you evaluate how you spend your time so that you can be most effective with the hours of your day. Focus on the tasks that only you can accomplish for you business, and make yourself available to the people who need your input the most. Make the most of your time. 

For more insights and teaching from Don Soderquist, check out the full course Leadership with a Purpose.  

For more great content from the Soderquist Leadership, visit their website, here

Download two free chapters of Don’s book, Live, Learn, Lead, here.