InBox: Top-ranking habits

Spending time on quality activities pays off. That was one of the messages from David Hensher, professor of management at the University of Sydney, and the founding director of Australia’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS).
According to Hensher, managers are more likely to achieve their objectives if they place particular emphasis on activities such as long-range planning, anticipating or preventing problems, and empowering other people. Other top priorities include broadening one’s own mind, increasing skills, preparing for important meetings, and investing in relationships “through sincere effort and deep honest listening”.
Ignore this and expect more stress, burnout and deeper crises, he warns.
Professor Hensher was speaking at the recent opening of Waikato University’s new Institute for Business Research (IBR).
The institute draws on the expertise of researchers at Waikato Management School.
IBR director Dr Stuart Locke says the IBR will work with range of clients, from industry groups and government agencies to some of New Zealand’s biggest companies, in areas ranging from innovation to economic impact analysis.
“The key challenge facing NZ Inc today is how we are going to increase productivity and provide sustainable profitability into the future,” he says.
The IBR is one of four new research institutes that Waikato University is opening over the next few months. The others are the National Institute for Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA), the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) and Te Kotahi Research Institute for Innovation, Well-being and Inspiration (IWI).
Hensher cautioned managers that urgency is an addiction. “[It is] self-destructive behaviour that temporarily fills the void by unmet needs: our society is overflowing with urgency addicts. The prevailing culture reinforces the notion that we must behave this way.”
Instead he suggested managers take more time to reflect. “What is the one activity that you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive result in your life?” M

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