Oliver: So Much To Do, So Little Time

I coached Oliver after he confessed to regularly waking up at 3am wondering – “how am I going to get all of this DONE?” A partner in a new investment management start-up, traveling overseas much of the time with two small children at home, he had a huge amount on his plate – and time management was not one of his strong points.

His company had initially done well, but with the recession, a new business plan was needed, and he and his partners had to make some long-term decisions.  There were communication issues between the four, however, and Oliver knew the survival of the company depended on finding solutions.


Action plan: I worked with Oliver on building his time management skills, focusing on prioritization and delegation. We went through his vast to-do list, and separated the items into “must-do” and “should-do”. On the “must-do” list it was clear there was much he could delegate. It didn’t take long for Oliver to realize which projects could be explained to an assistant, who could maintain and keep things current while he periodically reviewed it.  We also reviewed his client accounts and determined which ones could be transferred to a senior associate.

In terms of communicating better with his partners – I asked Oliver to take a range of Behavior Assessment Tools. These explored things like motivation – what were his values? – behavioral style – was he decisive or cautious? – and how he made decisions – did he see the whole picture,  or think through everything? I also suggested he ask his partners take the same assessment tools.

What emerged was a picture of how the four partners could complement each other – and where there were gaps which needed to be filled. Oliver also learned how to communicate more effectively with his partners. I pointed out that for him; it was “his way or no way”, which was not a helpful position. He realized he needed to phrase things differently in meetings, perhaps seeking out his partners’ opinions, rather than dictating an agenda.

Result: The time management coaching made a big difference. Up till then, Oliver had been notoriously late for meetings, and had been at least habitually 12-15 minutes late for our appointments.  After my input, he was turning up only minutes late. Oliver also put his new communication style into practice during an important business dinner with his partners – and admitted that it was probably the most productive meeting they’d ever had. They’re now working much better as a team. Oliver is still benefiting from the coaching process, and is now working to sharpen his company’s business strategy.