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Boardrooms / Meeting Rooms / small business advice

Management tips gleaned from the Harvard Review

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) is a highly regarded general management magazine published by Harvard Business Publishing, an organization that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Harvard University. Harvard Business Review’s articles cover a wide and diverse range of topics that are relevant to different industries, management functions and geographic locations. A great deal of their articles focuses on such areas as leadership, organizational change, negotiation, strategy, operations, marketing, finance and managing people.

Recently, Harvard Business Review released a book on their top management tips that were very insightful and should be shared. But the best tips were the ones that can easily be taken and put into action. While a lot of the tips may be more focused to managers of larger businesses, we found the tips that are best suited for small business owners and managers. One chore many people do not finish is to actually get through their to-do list. Why? Because the self-discipline required is not easy. So, instead of trying to tackle everything at once, they suggest you break things down. One way of doing this is to get three important tasks done before noon. This way you can enjoy your lunch knowing that you finished three tasks in the morning. This will help set the tone for the rest of your day. When they say to “sequence for speed” what they are really saying is to try to take on the longest parts of a project first. This will ensure that you are less likely to run out of steam when it comes to the shorter parts of a project.

Many experts will suggest to you that trying to multi-task is not always productive – as research has shown that multitasking often results in mediocre outcomes because you spread yourself thin. And because you end up putting too little attention on too many things, you end up failing to do anything well. At the same time, Harvard Business Review suggest that you try to tackle similar tasks at the same time. Why? Because our minds can excel through repetition and can therefore build momentum by taking on similar tasks and projects at the same time. Grouping tasks together can be productive without being chaotic.

Always show confidence, especially to employees and customers. By shutting out doubts and fears, you will worry less and have a better chance at achieving the outcomes you desire. Remember that many of our fears and doubts are often unfounded and may only be a product or our mind and attitude. Acting confident will go a long way to overcome those fears. Even your own team will notice your confidence and believe in you and your goals.

When things on your to-do list fail because you are trying to do too many things at once, you need to evaluate the the tasks that are the most valuable and spend more of your time on the things that bring out the best of your abilities. In doing this, you may want to understand why you are even doing some of the lower-value tasks – and either delegate those or decide if they really are of any value to your business.

You may have many meetings with your staff, colleagues, clients or even vendors – but what about having meetings with yourself? These should not be haphazard meetings with yourself; they should be something that you plan on a regular basis at least once a week. These are the times you take to reflect on recent conflicts or events, but they are also times when you can look forward to opportunities you exploited and failures you encountered. These meetings with yourself can also be used to reflect on feedback you have received and the observations you have made of others. When you plan these meetings for yourself, choose to get away from your desk and go into a meeting room or boardroom, as if you are having a meeting with other people.

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