In life, one will always come across the kind of people who are good at giving advice, especially when not asked for. These are the same people who will tell you not to waste your time, that your time should be spent constructively etc. but what they don’t tell you is ‘how’ to make the most of your time. In my professional scope as the CEO of Diamond Bank I don’t go around lecturing my team to optimize time, but endeavor to show them how to do so. Diamond Bank’s unprecedented success is probably proof of how effectively we make the most of our time. After all, we all have 24 hours a day – and that’s the same time that Steve Jobs or Nelson Mandela had. So there’s no excuse for us not to plan it intelligently.
At Diamond Bank, we have tried to initiate the culture of better management of time for our employees and customers. We value them a lot, and appreciate their continuous support and collective effort towards making us the leading bank of Nigeria. When we decided on taking banking forward through Mobile Apps and Internet Banking, it was done purely with the intension to efficiently manage time by integrating technology. Today we can proudly claim that our Mobile Apps and Credit Cards solutions are compatible with global banks, with over 70% of our customers preferring to use technology instead of ATMs for quick and effective monetary transactions.
Success as such, did not come to us in a day and we had to work towards it.
Being a smart worker: A very commonly used adage, ‘being a smart worker’ means having the foresight to comprehend what needs to get done and what needs to be get done by you. There’s a huge difference between the two. As a bank CEO, it’s impossible for me to look into everything, but it’s not impossible to be updated on everything. I have a trusted and competent team that fills me in, has the skills and authority to make decisions and be accountable for it, and allows me to find time for matters that require my attention. What I have to do therefore is delegate tasks and responsibilities so as to stop being robotic, and that’s something I recommend to all.
Learning to say ‘No’ at the right time: Saying yes to everything is a trap that you need to avoid falling into. There are times you will have to say ‘No’ decisively. When we at Diamond Bank decided to do away with cheque books giving preference to mobile technology, we took the decision to say ‘No’ to traditional banking. We knew there will be customers who would be disturbed and would feel uncomfortable using a Mobile App and net banking facilities. But the time was right for us to go digital. The economy of Nigeria was growing, innovation in technology was rampant, and with globalization we were not only competing internally in the Nigerian market, but globally with foreign banks and MNCs. The ability to say ‘No’ at that time has helped us immensely to save time, have the first-mover advantage and be ahead of our competitors. Our employees no longer have to spend hours on customers but can focus on their other responsibilities as well. Multitasking is what our team has learnt to do which in turn has helped them to enhance performance and productivity.
Scheduling and evaluating tasks: Planning your task is necessary. Not because you are forgetful but because it helps you to prioritize tasks. I usually use a digital planner and have a personal ‘To Do’ list, which even includes things like ‘buy chocolates on your way back!’ Prioritizing tasks helps you to focus on the important things first and delegate the rest to capable people. Prioritizing does not even mean making managerial decisions only – it simply means doing the important things first, and that depends on who you are. For instance when we had our customer service week, allotting time for the event was my priority; at times, reading a book is a priority; during my children’s holidays going on a vacation is a priority. That being said, it’s also necessary to prioritize tasks based on what works for the greater good and evaluating each task. Evaluation makes you understand if your plan of action is delivering desired results. For instance, our PocketMoney4AYear initiative is time-bound. Once the deadline is over we will need to evaluate to understand where we went wrong and what worked in our favor. Without evaluation, even the best plans are incomplete.
Sleeping and finding some ‘Me’ time: Yes, all work and no-play makes Jack a dull boy! I strongly recommend making time out for rest and sleep. Our body and mind needs it. Proper rest clears clogs in our mind, helps us to avoid stress and procrastination, and often shows us a new way to do things. I also recommend finding some ‘Me’ time. You are after all toiling all day long – you deserve to take a break and do what you like to do.
In short what I wish to convey to all is that time is the only thing that even the richest man cannot buy back. We shouldn’t be wasting it, but investing it. Remember, every sane investment gives dividends. So make sure you make smart investments.