Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power addresses how successful companies like Netflix, Google, Apple, and other powerful brands are able to maintain their success in a world where competition is brutally fierce and customer loyalty is fleeting.
The book argues that the continued success of these companies doesn’t depend on their capital as many would assume. It depends on how they manage scarcity, particularly three scarce resources: time, talent and energy. Any business that can leverage these three resources, the book says, will have a massive competitive advantage over every other business in its industry.
What is Time, Talent, Energy About?
In Time, Talent, Energy, the key to becoming a profitable and successful company isn’t getting more money so you can invest in more resources. (In fact, the authors argue that the business world has an overabundance of capital!) Money helps, but it isn’t the only factor. It’s how you use the resources a business already has — time, energy and talent. This is what distinguishes an excellent company from an average one. Companies able to attract the right talent, cultivate that talent and direct its energy will create a decisive competitive advantage that builds each year rather than declines.
The book contends that businesses, in their quest to grow, sabotage their efforts with red tape, complexity, ineffective leadership and a lack of engagement with their workforce. Businesses don’t do this on purpose, but it happens. As businesses start to mature, culture develops and policies develop. More meetings are scheduled and more departments are created. Decisions take longer to get approved as more layers of management get involved. Leadership focuses on maintaining the status quo instead of developing and cultivating talent. Slowly, the once successful company becomes a fossilized version of its own success.
Time, Talent, Energy suggests it doesn’t have to happen this way. Businesses, especially mature ones, can adopt the book’s strategies to cultivate an efficient, loyal and engaged workforce. Once a business takes the steps to create that workforce, those employees begin creating a cycle of success on their own. In attracting and retaining good talent, a business becomes more productive. In becoming more productive, it can afford to hire even greater talent for even better results.
Author Michael Mankins is a strategy expert, speaker, regular contributor to Harvard Business Review and partner at management consulting firm Bain & Company (San Francisco office). He is also a board member of the Children’s Creativity Museum and the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues.
Co-author Eric Garton is also a partner of Bain & Company (Chicago office), a frequent contributor to Forbes, an expert in organizational transformation and part of the leadership team that develops best practices for consumer and industrial goods.
What Was Best About Time, Talent, Energy?
The best part of Time, Talent, Energy is the book’s core message and the recommendations that build on that core message. The book argues that every company can improve its productivity by paying attention to just three resources: time, talent, and energy. In a cash-strapped world still reeling from a recession, this is empowering news. Every business has the same amount of time. Time, Talent, Energy shows how to optimize that time so you can leverage the talent and energy every business possesses to reach a higher level of performance.
What Could Have Been Done Differently?
One area of Time, Talent, Energy that could use more attention is the spotlight on small and medium-sized businesses (referred to as “everyday businesses” in the book.) While the book promises to demonstrate how an “everyday business” can utilize the strategies of Time, Talent, Energy, it doesn’t develop that promise into a fully fleshed-out example. More attention here (specifically a case study or case studies with a small business that utilized the book’s examples) might help small or medium-sized business owners who aren’t sure if the book’s strategies can be implemented on a smaller scale for big results.
Why Read Time, Talent, Energy?
Time, Talent, and Energy is a very important book because it redirects the conversation about internal growth with specific, actionable recommendations on how to optimize it in simple ways. Many business advice books focus on the paradox of success experienced by companies like Kodak and Blockbuster. As companies grow, they tend to reinforce their internal growth. That reinforcement includes policies, aspects of culture, assumptions and leadership styles that can become so ingrained in a business that it gets in the way of future growth. In other words, these businesses get so successful that they lose the qualities that make them so successful over the long run. Time, Talent, Energy was written to remedy that. By regularly focusing on the three scarce resources involved with growth, it is hoped, business owners can prevent their businesses from falling into the paradox of success.
This article, “How to Manage the Scarcity of Time, Talent, Energy for Success” was first published on Small Business Trends