March 22; The Father of the Nuclear Navy Got Things Done
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


22 March

That night the king could not sleep;

so he ordered the book of the chronicles,

the record of his reign,

to be brought in and read to him.

Esther 6:1

The Father of the Nuclear Navy Got Things Done

Mission Accomplished

Charmaine _APCharmaine came home after a hard day of CEO’ing in the trenches and she said, “I didn’t get anything done.”

She’s not alone. Most senior leaders, I would submit, feel the same way. But in fact they did work hard and what they accomplished that day wasn’t what they wanted to get done on their priorities. Or they just didn’t remember all that got done slogging away in the mud. She was in the company of kings.

In the book of Esther we read about Xerxes of Persia where the king had trouble sleeping. It was possible that his day was so consumed with adminis-trivia that reading accounts payable would be a better sedative than counting sheep.

Or the King might have been wondering, like Charmaine, What did I DO today?


Your Business Professor was even less effective.

I once had a very large (thankyouverymuch) corner office with no little responsibility and a big title. But I didn’t get anything done.

Yes, my boss had first dibs on my time. My boss set my priorities. But I also allowed my subordinates too much claim on my time — as it now is clear to me. Because I was a compassionate caring manager I read and listened and labored over my direct reports’ written reports and their direct reports. And their direct reports.


(Too soon old, too late smart.) (For me, anyway.)

What was I doing wrong?

I was being ruled by my email in-box.


Admiral Hyman G. Rickover was the father of the nuclear navy and the first atomic powered submarine USS Nautilus. He had a different method of managing in-coming communication memorandum.

He didn’t. He swept it off his desk with, I would imagine, a dramatic sweep of his arm into a waiting waste paper basket.

Rickover said,

To do a job effectively, one must set priorities. Too many people let their “in” basket set the priorities.

On any given day, unimportant but interesting trivia pass through an office; one must not permit these to monopolize his time. The human tendency is to while away time with unimportant matters that do not require mental effort or energy.

Since they can be easily resolved, they give a false sense of accomplishment. The manager must exert self-discipline to ensure that his energy is focused where it is truly needed.

The Admiral motivated his staff to come see him at his desk. Memos, or these days, email, are easy to toss over the transom-internet. The friction of a personal visit negotiated with busy gatekeepers separated the motivated staffer from the less so. Face-to-face in–person is expensive in political capital. Personal meetings may be inefficient but they are effective in advancing organizational goals.

An empty inbox enabled the Admiral to think, to not get lost under water and maintain a perspective above the forest.

And he probably knew what he got done on any given day.

Esther 6:1, That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him.



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