The 2-20-200 Rule

The 2-20-200 Rule

It is rough to be an executive these days balancing so many demands of the business and trying to maximize time management.  Often it can feel overwhelming but great executives both figure out a good system that works for them and their team while also bringing an exceptional level of energy and endurance to the process.  Really, it is an amazing combination of finesse and muscle.  And this intensity is experienced by everyone around the executive.

Because of this, a watch out thought that I share with many executives is the 2-20-200 Rule.  Being aware of this can help to avoid issues down the road.  What is this 2-20-200 Rule you ask?  Well, it speaks to the intensity and the level of the executive when deciding on and delegating projects.  It goes something like this…executive says to their direct report to do something and says it in such a way that it sounds like this something should take no more than 2 hours to complete.  Which by the way is more oft that not, not accurate.  The direct report realizes that this task will take more than 2 hours, probably 20 hours and rapidly shifts the work with rationalized intentions to their direct reports who readily realize that the task will take up to 200 hours to complete.  Sound familiar?  Probably more familiar when you were the person who had to spend 200 hours on completing the task.

The lesson here for executives is to take an extra moment and figure out how much time the task will actually take.  And if you do not know get some feedback from someone who does know.   Even if this 2-20-200 scenario does not happen too often to you it is best to try to eliminate this storyline for your world as minimally it will cause confusion, missed timelines, anger and resentment.  Just think it through. Still have high expectations of your people but stay grounded in reality.

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