The Higher Up You Go In Your Career, The More Time You’ll Spend Allocating Constrained Resources

As a young Captain in the Army, I received an unusual assignment to work in the Pentagon as an Army Reservist in the newly created cyber warfare unit.  It was an exciting time and we were supporting the new edge of the battlefield, and learning what it meant to be serving in the digital frontier of war. 

My first few meetings that I happened to attend where there a General Officer (GO) presided were eye-opening.  They were interesting because I really had not had much first-hand exposure at that time in my career to what GO’s did.  I was wondering when the hard questions would be asked or the mind-blowing digital strategies would be revealed.  Instead they mostly talked about priorities and which units would receive funding and when.  I learned that in the world’s largest corporation (yes, some folks referred to the Department of Defense (DOD) as such) had different colors for money.  Blue money was Air Force, Green money was Army and such…

In my years in corporations and now serving customers over the past 10 years in my consulting role, I have noted and have firmly concluded that the higher up you go in your career the more time you will spend allocating constrained resources. Those resources might be time, people, money or even the scope of work that set as priorities for the teams that work for you.  While it’s not the only thing that leaders do, it is an important role and one that requires good judgment. 
What have you noticed about how leaders spend their time?

2 thoughts on “The Higher Up You Go In Your Career, The More Time You’ll Spend Allocating Constrained Resources”

  1. Strategy – I think as a leader you need to have an strategy for everything. You need to know your pros and cons of your next action and it all goes back to what you said: good judgement.
    As a leader you also need to be aware of your resources and make sure you use them in a proper way. You need to make your people feel good about what they are doing – be very assertive on what you say and how you give feedback.

  2. In my opinion, leaders in today’s global economy spend a good chunk of their time on strategy and efficiency (namely drivers that maximize growth, profitability, and competitive advantages.) However, there is not as much allocated to the area that’s keeping the corporate machine going: the people. I’m referring mainly to the training that’s being given to improve workers’ skills so that they may better adapt to any situation. Sure, there are seminars and quarterly workshops, but not enough focus is being given on expanding education in the general sense for your average employee. Companies (especially well established ones) should definitely set aside a higher priority in the coming years, especially as skills need to be able to acclimate for the shifting situation at hand.

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