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Managerial Leadership Practices based on the Time Span research of Elliott Jaques.

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The Rare Grasp on Structure

“I get it,” I said. “Timespan helps us sort out the complexity of problems at hand with the selection of the right person to solve that problem. You say that timespan touches everything a manager does?” “Let’s start at the top with the CEO,” Pablo replied. “I rarely meet a CEO who has a firm grasp on the structure of their organization. And, by...

The Story of Our Intentions

“Once you understand this elegant simplicity, that timespan is nothing more complicated than the time measure of our intentions, the story of our intentions, the target completion time of our goals and objectives,” Pablo started, “you can begin to see that timespan is going to touch every aspect of a manager’s life.” “Starting with?” I asked. “You...

Second Dimension of Time

“Timespan of intention,” I repeated. “Timespan of effectiveness, timespan of discretion. A new understanding of time?” “Not at all,” Pablo replied. “Elapsed time and timespan of intention are two measures of time. But, not at all new. Greek language has two words for time, chronos, for elapsed time. And, kairos. Kairos defines time, not as an...

Size of Task, Size of Role

“This timespan of intention,” Pablo continued, “turns out to be the missing element in measuring the size of a task, the size of a role and thinking about the capability of those we have employed to complete those tasks and play those roles.” “Okay, but I intend to do a lot of things,” I countered. “Climb Mount Everest before I die, run a 4-minute...

Two Dimensions of Time

“Exactly what is timespan, and why does it have a bearing on human endeavor?” I asked. “Not just human behavior, but all living things, though right now we are focused on humans, the humans that inhabit our companies,” Pablo started. “Think about this. We plan a project and imagine, using our best judgement that the project will be complete within...

The Best Measure of Performance

“We started this conversation trying to figure out the size of the role and the size of the person,” I clarified. “I think we have established that we can measure size of role with timespan. So how do we measure the size of person?” “It’s a trick question,” Pablo immediately responded. “I don’t judge people, I only judge the work.” “But, if we...

Complexity of the Problem

“I understand there is a difference in thinking-near-term vs thinking-long-term. Conceptually, I understand. How does that help us, as managers inside a company?” I asked. “You are familiar with delegation?” Pablo asked, knowing the answer. “Of course,” I replied. “You say that so fast, I assume you do NOT understand delegation, except at its surface...

Accuracy of Timespan

“You see,” Pablo continued, “it’s the ‘by when’ that creates the complexity of any problem.” “I’m listening,” I said. “The further our intention is into the future, the more uncertainty, the more ambiguity creeps in. In spite of our best intentions, the future is without precision. My friend Murphy* has a law, with which, I am sure you are familiar....

The Timespan of Dry

“Most people are comfortable with short timespan decisions,” Pablo continued. “Most elements are tangible, known. We can observe, inspect, feel, touch each of the elements. The level of uncertainty, the level of ambiguity is low. And most people are comfortable.” “I can see that,” I said. “And, as the level of ambiguity grows, the timespan of...

The Measure of Complexity

“Would you agree,” Pablo asked, “there are some simple problems that most people can easily solve?” I nodded, “yes.” “And, would agree that as problems become more complex, some people struggle?” Again, I nodded, “yes.” “So, how do we measure the complexity of any decision, the complexity of any problem?” “I suppose,” I started, “it would have...

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