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Submitted by mahin on


Good evening,

In one of the casts Mark mentions that the most critical habit a young professional needs to be able to develop is the skill of time management.  As successful executives and senior managers are known to have excellent time management skills, this is clearly understood. 

Besides time management, what other habits should a young professional focus on?  Should a young professional study his industry vigorously to have the same high-level view that his CEO has as well?  (especially if he has C-suite aspirations)



mmann's picture
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I don't recall the cast you're referring to.  I keep remembering Mark's quote of "I've tried to manage time and found it doesn't respond well to management."  My takeaway was that management of priorities and mapping your activities to those priorities is what most people think of as good time management.

Was there a specific issue you're concerned with, or is this a philosphical question?


Jrlz's picture


Hi Mahin,
Mark always quotes Drucker and maybe that is where you heard about time management.  As Drucker points out successful executives know their time and they devote their time to what is important and will help accomplish organizational goals.  If you have not already - pick up a copy of The Effective Executive. It is a timeless book and will give you some guidance on the habits you will want to focus on. Also, I would recommend Execution by Larry Bossidy.
Yes, you should know your industry. Be a student of your industry and business in general. I would recommend continual learning that focuses first on your area of expertise and then branch out from there to learn more from a strategic point of view. For example: If you are working in the marketing department in aerospace. You may first want to learn as much as you can about the business of marketing in aerospace and then branch out to other facets of the Aerospace business.   Listen to the posdcasts on staying organizationally current – great advice there. 
Hope this helps. 

mahin's picture
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Mark touches on this point (time management) in several of the casts.  "Time Management" and "Managing your Calendar" are two that come to mind off the top of my head; they are two of the older casts. 

I just wanted to know besides time management what other habits (that good executives do) should a young professional focus on if they aspire to one day reach the executive ranks?  


mahin's picture
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Thanks for the reply,

Besides the two things I mentioned (time management and study of industry/business) what other habits should I look to acquire?  (I am currently reading "The Effective Executive" by the way)

In Jeffrey Fox's book "How to become CEO" he mentions the important of good diet/exercise and staying in shape as he highlights that many lose track of their health while climbing the corporate ladder.  (So takeaway being "Exercise daily")

What other things come to mind?  (For instance, how should I approach dress at work?)  Our dress code is super casual because it's an industrial plant.  If I have to go into the field, I usually change into a different set of plant-specific clothes but most people just coming to work just wear jeans with whatever top they can find.  Ballcaps are common.  Should I for example look at my department manager and emulate how he dresses?  Or should I dress like my peers?  (Or is this not a big deal for my environment?)  I work at a place where you get made fun of if you're too clean.

I appreciate everyone's feedback!  This looks like a great forum to get alot of questions answered. 

robin_s's picture
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I'm an operations manager in a wholesale nursery/greenhouse operation.  One of the things I've always loved about my industry is that I don't need a "business wardrobe".  In fact, I bought a whole new outfit to go to the MT Effective Manager's Conference in Seattle last March.  I knew if I wore my "work clothes" I wouldn't fit in!  That said, I've always heard you should dress for the job you want, not the one you have.  So, emulating your manager's "dress code" wouldn't be a bad idea.  (My CEO wears jeans too, so I'm good  :)

svibanez's picture

I've found David Allen's "Getting Things Done" process to work well for me.  I'm still tweaking it to fit my situation, but the overall concept of managing how I use my time works extremely well.  I find myself claiming small victories (on "next action" items) all the time, which naturally leads to completing larger projects faster and better than if I tried to tackle the whole thing at once.

I'm in the power plant service business and split my time between the office and the field.  When in the office, I dress to present a professional appearance for our customers, my boss, peers and DRs.  When in the field, I dress for work (jeans, safety boots, etc.) to fit in better with my team.  I also like to jump in and help out with the technical work on occasion and the work dress makes that possible.

Steve Ibanez

DiSC 7114

naraa's picture
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 Learn about people.  Observe them.  Practice recognising which communication behaviour each one has, and adjust your behaviour to fit theirs and see how it works. (Check the DISC podcasts).

I find that most problems in management today are because people don´t know how to interact with other people.  There is so much conflict at a personal level, no wonder there is so much conflict and inefficiencies in the work place.  The work place I believe has never been so much about dealing with others as it is now.  

We learn as kids and young adults to deal with others socialising with others, but we don´t really learn (and practice) how to work together with others.  And because we learn socialising is one thing and working is another, people are really lost.  If you can be the one that makes the link between two people (to achieve a result), and then three, and then four and then 100, that is how you will get to be a supervisor, then a manager, then the CEO.

A good book there is Crucial Conversations.

Time management is really important, but only because it makes you better with people as you keep appointments with them, you deliver staff to them on time, you feel better and as a result treat people better as you are not stressed out all the time because you are late with staff, etc...  

Your health is important, also are your feelings and your emotional life.  Look for balance in your life: mind-intellect, spirit-intuition, body-energy.

I also like the book the speed of trust, by Stephen R. Covey.  It give 13 habits which help you build trust which according to him is key in accelerating performance, both at an individual level and at an organisational level.


robin_s's picture
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Brilliant observation Nara.

"If you can be the one that makes the link between two people (to achieve a result), and then three, and then four and then 100, that is how you will get to be a supervisor, then a manager, then the CEO."

jib88's picture

The most important thing you can do for your career is to develop good relationships, and to make it a habit. It's all about the people. Surely you've heard the phrase "It's not what you know, it's who you know." This doesn't mean that good-ole-boy networks rule the day (as I once thought) - this means that developing good relationships and broadening your network will trump individual skill & IQ in terms of advancement upwards.

As an early-career individual contributor, relationships will be the key to opening opportunities for you to move up. Certainly, you need to have delivered good results, but you also need to know the people who have opportunities to fill. You'll have a much greater chance at someone taking a shot with giving you a newer, bigger role if they know you and how you work.

As you move up in your career, you will need to leverage those relationships to effect change in the organization. You won't be able to do everything yourself or even with your own team, you will need allies and buy-in from customers, partners, peers and other influential people in the organization.

So get to know people. Ask for advice on things. Setup meetings to get feedback on plans you are making or ideas you have.

One caveat - this takes time. Not only in terms of your effort, but also calendar-wise as well. But you will be building momentum that will propel you through your career.


mfculbert's picture

Demonstrate discipline!
This plays out in many ways including time management, staying frosty (no emotional outbursts), choosing the good of the company over the personal good. The big shock for me was Mark's insight that physical fitness is often taken as an indicator of that discipline.

There is a podcast for that... or a dozen. It has been brought up here multiple times.

This is both in your work and your personal life. You must know what is most important and the entire rank. A good manager will respect you when family or health is more important than work. Managers who want work to be #1 all the time are not being realistic.