“So, how can you tell?” Jonas asked. “How do you measure Time Span capability in a person?”
“How can you tell anything about a person?” I replied.
“I can tell you the most about people I know,” he nodded.
“Let’s start there. With the people you know the most. In fact, let’s make a list of those people who see you, as their manager. That should be a list of four or five people.”
“Okay, I have the list, now what?”
“Take that list and rank them according to Time Span. Longest Time Span at the top of the list and shortest Time Span at the bottom of the list. Here are some questions I ask myself.
- If I had a project that would take a year to complete, which of those on the list would I feel most comfortable with?
- And if I had a slightly shorter project, who is the next person I would feel comfortable in making that assignment?
- And if I only felt comfortable assigning a short phase of a larger project, who would that person be?
- And who on the list, do I have to check up on every ten minutes, just to see if they are still working?
With that list in hand, how does it look?”
Jonas was working while I was talking. “Got it,” he finished.
“And now, as you look at that list, your team ranked in Time Span order, how confident do you feel about the accuracy of your ranking?”
Jonas nodded, “I think I did a pretty good job.”
“If I were to tell you that you did a highly accurate assessment of your team members, why would I have such a high level of confidence in your ability to make this assessment? Do you consider yourself an expert on Time Span?”
“Well, no, but I know these people. I have known each of them for several years.”
“Exactly, you see, you have not been doing this exercise for the past few minutes. You have been doing this exercise for years. Every manager always maintains a running intuitive judgment about the Time Span capability of their team. You just never though about it this way before. And now, you have a very simple tool to work with.”