day 212: Clock Builders

One of the best business books of our time is “Built to Last” by Collins and Porras. In their book they detail a number of ways that we can be better managers and co-workers. One of the lessons that has stuck with me over the years has been the lesson of the difference between being a time-teller and a clock-builder. A time-teller is someone who needs to have everyone come to them for all information, details, direction and knowledge. This makes them feel important and needed. But, what we find over time, is that these people become bottle-necks and obstacles to others growing and getting better. At some point these people get moved aside because they slow the operation beyond acceptance and no one wants to work for them any longer. Instead of being a time-teller, what Collins and Porras say we should be are clock-builders. These are people who have the confidence in themselves to let loose of having to have people come to them for “what time it is” and information, but instead they build clocks for others to use and then they teach them how to use them. Everyone benefits and learns and the clock-builders see their influence and capacity expand. Part of why I find this metaphor so compelling and thought-provoking is that there is nothing more precious and personal than our time. If you want to really provoke negativity, just have your time wasted or waste the time of someone else. We all are given the same amount of time in a day and we are expected to make the most of our time to deliver our purpose within our work and our jobs. If we ourselves cannot manage our time well then we cannot expect to make the most of the time we have. David prays the prayer of time management in Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom”. Each day our clocks are counting down towards an end moment and we must make the most of each and every day that we have been given. Today, at work, there will be many opportunities to make the most of your time, waste your time, and/or do the same for others. As you approach this day, see if today can be a day where we pray the prayer of David and we find in our own way, the way to be a clock-builder so that we can be there for others and have all the time we need to focus on our purpose becoming the center of our jobs.

Reference: Psalm 90:12 (New Living Testament)

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