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ED 213 136 

EA 014 439 








Sergiovanni, Thomas J. 

Planning and Time Management: Keys to Effective 
Educational Leadership. 

Deakin Univ., Victoria, (Australia). School of 


Oct 80 

6p.; Funded by Deakin University Foundation. 
Editor, The Australian Administrator, School o£ 
Education, Deakin University, Victoria 3217, 
AUSTRALIA ($.85) . 

The Australian Administrator; vl n5 Oct 19S0 

MFOl Plus Postage. PC Not Available from EDRS. 
Administrator Role; *Administrators ; Elen^ntary 
Secondary Education; Leadership; Needs Assessment; 
♦Objectives; *Planning 

Activity Record; Administrator Effectiveness; *Txme 


Educational administrators* concern with planning and 
time management results from the fragmentation of their daily 
activities, which research has documented, and their consequent 
search for order and control. Time is important because its scarcity 
affects productivity and its use has social-psychological effects on 
staffs' perceptions of administrators' priorities. Time management 
can increase administrative effectiveness through increased control 
of time and through the wiser use of time that is achieved by setting 
priorities. Administrators should begin managing their time by 
keeping a log of their daily act." ties and then analyzing what 
priorities can be inferred from tne log, how results relate to time 
spent on activities, what activities were delegated, and to what 
extent others were involved in particular activities. The log wil 
reveal administrators as doers of tasks rather than managers or 
leaders. Administrators need to become leaders, which may involve 
doing less. To do this they should determine priorities, on which in 
turn th^y should base written plans that include objectives, 
strate«]ies, and time guideliner In se. ing priorities, 
administrators should distinguish between the few vital activities 
and the many trivial ones. (Author/RW) 


* Reproductions supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made * 

* from the original document. * 




A Professiona! Publication for Educational Adtiinistrators 

Pubflshed bi-monthly, February to December 

EDITOR: Dr. W. J. Smyth 




\^ Th(5 document has been reproduced as 
received from the person or organization 
originating it 

Minor changes hove been r^ade to improve 
reproduc;ion quality 

• Points of view of opinions stated in this clocu 
ment do not necessarily represent otf^'ta! N E 
position Or policv 


ny, U- .T. Smyth 








tSSN 0168-7447 



A Professional Publication for Educational Administrators 

Published bi-monthly, February to December 

EDITOR Dr. J. Smyth 

Vol. 1, Nt. 5. 


The author has taker) up the topic of leadership 
raised Jn earlier Issues of The Austraiiar) Admm- 
istrator. He advarices some sugge$tlor)s on how 
hassled administrators may obtain a better per- 
spective on the way they utilize their own time, and 
thus facilitate the provision of educational leader 
ship In schools, (Ed.) 


Thomas J. Sergiovonni 


In a recent study of U.S. educational administrators 
of new educational programs. Sprout (1976) found 
that such words as 'Mocar*, •'verbar*. •'choppy**, 
and "varied'* were use<^ most often to describe a 
typical administrative work day, Choppiness, for 
example, was evidenced by the presence of many 
activities of brief duration. The composite admin- 
istrator In SprouTs study engaged daily in fifty-six 
activities, each averaging about nine minutes in 
duration, and sixty-five events, each averaging six 
minutes, ^vents were described as periods of time 
one minute or longer during which administrators 
used one medium such as a phone, meeting, indivi- 
dual conversation, memo, or letter to work on one 
purpose. Activities were collections of events 
devoted to one purpose. This distinction, according 
to Sproul, was forced by numerous interruptions that 
characterized the administrator's work day. Con- 
ceivably, without Interruption, each activity could 
by completed by one event, Choppiness, then. Is 
reflected In the vast array of events and activities of 
short duration wtilch characterize the work day. 

Similarly, Mintzborg (1973), In his study of five 
Canadian executives Including a school superln- 


Professor SergiovannI Is chairperson of the Depart- 
- t of Administration, Higher and ContinuinQ 
ERJCc«t/on, university of iiiinois at Urbana-Cham- 
' uflfeto jn, U.$.A. recently visited Austraifa and hae 
spoken with princlpata and t eachers. 

tendent, found the vifOrk of administrators character- 
ized by brevity, variety, and fragmentation. He noted 
that the majority of admlnlstrath'e actlv.'y was 'J 
brief duration, oft€?n taking only minutes. The variety 
was not only great but often without pattern or 
connectedness, anj typica^y was Interspersed with 
trivia. The administrator, as a result, was required 
to shift moods and intellectual frames frequently and 
quickly. These characteristics suggested a high 
level of superficiality in the work of administration. 
Mlntzberg further noted that because of the open 
ended nature of his lob, the administrator was com- 
pelled to perfonn a great amount of work at an un- 
relenting pace - a further contributor to super- 
ficiality. Free time was only rarely available and 
)0b responsibilities saen^ed Inescapable, A recent 
replication of Mintzberg's work by Kurke and Aldrich 
(1979) substantiates his conclus.ons, 

A study (HemphttI, 1965) of the secondary school 
principalship in the Uniteo States revealed that 
principals studied spent 50, often 60 hours a week 
on job activities, A study (Knezevlch, 1971) of the 
superintendency suggests a work week in excess of 
60 hours for about one half of the superintendents 
studied. Evening and weekend work was common to 
the superintendency. And as Lasswell (1971) sug- 
gests, "The man who keeps on top of his respon- 
sibilities is likely to suffer from chronic fatigue and 
exasperation, and unless he has an exceptional 
natural constitution, a quick mind, and selective 
habits of work, he falls further and further behind" 
(p. 34). 

Though eoucational administrators are likely lo find 
this description of their world of work familiar, this 
familiarity does not lessen their anxiety over what 
often seems an impossible diienima. Understandably, 
attempts are made to bring order to cne*s admini- 
strative life of apparent confusion; to seek control 

Annual subscription $6.00. tingle copies 85c. 
Reol«tared for posting as a publication. CatoOory B. 

Editorial and subscription anqulrlas to Editors T ha 
Australian Administrator. School of Education 
3o«tk)n University, Victoria, 3217, 


over one's work aciiv'*'^s. Thi<? search for ordfer and 
control IS what makes the discussion of planning and 
time management theories and models so appealing 
to Pducational administrators, 


Time IS a scarce resource m the sense that any 
future allocation of time is diminished by the amount 
allocated to present activities. Further, since the 
number o* activities which can be simultaneously 
attended to is limited, time spent on one activity 
results in the neglect of others (Serglovanni, Bur- 
lingame, Coombs; & Thurston, 1980). But time dis- 
tribution IS a social-psychological concept as well 
as one in economics. Symbolically, how an admini- 
strator uses time Is a fomi of administrative attention 
which communicates meaning to others in the school. 
It IS assumed liiat an administrator g'ves attention 
to the events and activities he or she values. Spend- 
ing a great deal of time on interpersonal relation- 
ships, educational program objectives, building 
student identity with the school and its programs, or 
m some other area, communicates to teachers ar»d 
students that this sort of activity Is of worth to the 
administrator and school. As others leam the value 
of this activity to the administrator, they are also 
likely to give it attention. Administrative attention 
then, can be considered a fomi of modeling for 
others who work In the school. Through administrative 
attention, the principal contributes to setting the 
tone or climate of the school and communicates to 
others the goaJs and activities which should enjoy 
high priority. 

Social-psychological effects of administrative 
attention tend to occur whether or not they are in- 
tended. An elementary school prt^cipal might for 
example, espouse an educational platfonr Ahicn 
suggests a deep commitment to btOldlng a strong 
educational program sensitive to Individual needs 
of students, taught by happy and committed teachers, 
and supported by his or her community. But th's 
platform Is likely to be ignored m favor of the one 
which students, teachers, and parents infer on the 
basi«» of administrative attention. Protestations to 
contrary. If most of his or her time is spent on 
busy office work and on administrative maintenance 
actlvtles, observers will leam that "mnning a 
smo'jth ship*' is the goal of real value to the prin- 
cipal and school, and will likely behave accoidlngly. 

In sum, administrative attention not only has obvious 
management effects when considered in an economic 
sense as a scarce resource, but has social-psycho- 
logical effects as well. The potency of administrative 
attention Is the reason why discussion of planning 
and time management are important. 

Finding sufficient time to plan and to articulate 
one's plans is a task of no small consequence. Most 
administrators are already worHIng ^o^Q.^^^/s and 
are spending maximum effort at work. To S' nge . 
rk- one find additional time or new sourc^ ) 
^ -gy to meet present and new job demands is 
onftble. But working hard or working long hour^ 


and working effectively are not the same. An admini- 
stratoi might be at the length of his or her invest- 
ment in energy and time, yet still increase effective- 
ness by managing time more efficiently. Time mana- 
gement experts, for example, nften speak of "working 
smarter not harder**. 

Time management can help increase effectiveness, 
but the gams are likely to be modest. Even th« most 
effective administrators are in control of only a 
small part of their time. One is in control when he or 
Ghe decides how tir.e will be used, has discretion 
over this time, and uses it in accord with his or her 
own judgment. One is not -n control when one is 
reacting to situations and conditions detennined by 
others, or when one is engaged in routine organiza- 
tional iasks and demands programed by the larger 
bureaucratic and poetical environment within A/hict 
he or she works. An ideal split of discretionary and 
nondi screiionary time is one-third— two thirds. But 
most educational administrators control less than 
one third and probably 10 to 15 percent might be a 
more accurate estimate (Wolcott, 1973). 

Let's assume that an administrator is likely to 
increase his or her time control from 10 to 15 per- 
cent. How much more effect've 'S that person likely 
to be? A 5 percent increase In time control will 
probably result in a 10 percent increase in effective- 
ness. Shooting for 30 percent increase m lime con- 
trot ought to be one's goal. This goal is attainable 
and realistic and upon being reached should result 
in a noticeable difference in one's effectiveness. 
Obtaining more discretionary time is only one stage 
in increasing effectiveness. Using time v^isely is the 
second stage. In Peter Drucker's (1967) words: 

Effective executives concentrate on the few 
mafor areas where superior performance wili 
produce outstanding results. They force them- 
selves to set priorities and stay with their priority 
decisions. They know that they have no choice 
but to do first things first - and second things 
not at ail. The alternative is to get nothing done 
rp' 111}' 

Setting prionties requires that one have a clear 
understanding of the major components of his^ or her 
|0b and some sense of how "itiey relate to expecta- 
tions from the school. In attempting to identify 
these components and how they relate to school 
purposes, one needs to spend less time examining 
stated objectives anr^ public lists of critical job 
components and more time in Inferring the real com- 
ponents and objectives from careful study of what an 
administrator does and how he or she allocates time 
to tasks and activities. A iirst step, therefore, in , 
beginning a time-management program iS to keep a 
detailed log of one's activities over a period of 
several weeks. The inconvenience of recording what 
It Is that one :s doing, with whom, for how long and ^ 
why, every 15 minutes is well worth the aftort, In - 
analyzing a time log one might ask such questions as: 

1. What actual objectives a^d priorities can be 

Inferred and how do they compare witii my ^zi 
seated objectives and priorities? 


2. Do results obtained from different classes of 
activities justify the amount of time spent 

3. What tasks and activities should be delegated 
without loss of effectiveness, and what tasks 
and activities should be retained*^ 

4. When others are involved in one's work, what fS 
the purpose of the invo'vemenf? Is involvement 
necessary'? Are you using the time of others 

In reviewtiig a time log, one should be conscious of 
omissions as well. What tasks and activities are not 
appearing as frequently as they should'^ Since total 
hours are likely to be fixed, any addition of time 
given to certain taslcs and activities requires that 
others receive less. The goal of time management is, 
therefore, one of redistribution. 

Analysis of time logs often reveals administrators as 
doers of tasks rather than as managers or super- 
visory leaders of people (Sergiovanni, 1977). Too 
little distinction is made between doing, and super- 
visory leadership. Tasks could be delegated through 
another individual. Leadership focuses on helping 
others iO develop personally and professionally, 
improving their pertomiance, adopting new ways of 
working, and solving problems. Leadership has to do 
with getting results through people. 

Because of the way schools operate, tasks are often 
crisis orientated and become top priority by default. 
Sometimes tasks are systems-onentated; they take 
priority because delays upset the bureaucratic 
system. For example, a principal plans to spend 
time with a teacher who is experimenting with an 
individually-paced chemistry program. But he or she 
receives an urgent request to prepare a two-year staff 
projection from a superior. Then a parent to 
request a meeting that afternoon. Apparently, a 
teacher detained his youngster for writing obscene 
words 'n his notebook cover and the parent feels 
this rp^'^sents an mfringement of *ree speech. The 
first instance is systems-orientated. Lack of re- 
sponse to thrs request upsets someone else's time- 
table. The second instance is crisis-crientated. 
Many administrators seem programmed to respond 
immediately to pressures from the school community. 

Consider the following propositions: 1) top priority 
needs to go to leadership functions not to doing 
tasks; 2) one important way to lead more is by doing 
less- and 3) m any administrative role which con- 
tains leadership responsibility, increased effective- 
ness IS asbs^cated with doing less. U is unrealistic 
to assume that the doing side of one's job is going 
to disappear, but one will not attend properly to the 
leadership side wit.iout establishing priorities linked 
to the analysis of a job's major components in key 
result areas. 

< have suggested that an administrator should try 
keeping a log to detennme how time is spent. From 
I log one car infer actual job component purposes 
"j outa^mes. A next step mignt be to analyze key 
lult areas and determine major purposes. Base 


priorities upon the difference between inferences of 
what you are doing and ideals. Priorities should be 
few. perhaps no more than three .primary and Six 
secondary for the year. Having too many priorities 
may be worse than having none. Next, focus on 
leadership responsibilities and leave the doing tasks 
to the 60 percent of time that cannot be controlled. 
Avoid setting uojectives in areas of routine activity. 
Administering the teacher evaluation prcgram is a 
routine function and does not call for an objective 
Helping teachers to set targets for themselves or 
teaching them to use self-evaluation methods and 
activities, however, are practices which qualify as 
leadership objectives. 

Rational analysis is important to the development of 
priorities, but courage may be even more important 
to the process. Indeed, courage m selecting f5rior- 
ities IS Ihe ingredient which distinguishes ordinary 
leaders froni great leaders. In selecting pnorities 
Dmci^er (1967) advises 

Pick the future against the past. Focus on oppor- 
tunity rather than on problems. Choose your own 
direction - rather than climb on the bandwagon, 
and atm high, aim for something that will make a 
difference, rather than for something that is 
"safe" and easy to do (p. 111). 

Once priorities are established, set a specific time 
for planning. Priorities give us general guidelines - 
they Suggest the major avenues to ou. work. Plans 
suggest the specifics with which one deals withm a 
general time. The success of any depend? 
upon the establishment of regulfir times fo planning. 
A yearly plan ought to be developed with monthly 
times set aside for developing an operational plan. 
This process needs to be supplemented by a weekly 
planning session. Friday is good for weekly planning; 
it permits stock-taking for the previous week and a 
projection of next week's activities. 

From a planning session should come a written 
sketch or outline of projected targets and activities. 
A wrttten plan is mere binding, less apt to be for- 
gotten then mental plans. Further, a written plan en- 
ables stock-taking at the end of the planning time- 
frame. Plans should be kept simple enough to be 
readily understood by most teachers or others with 
whom one works. Yearly plans w'll be m ore com- 
prehensive than monthly or weekly plans. Weekly 
plans should be kept to one page whenever possible. 

In summary, the yearly plans speaks to priorities, 
broad goals and major anticipated accomplishments. 
The monthly - Ian is a time map for carrying out 
yearly plans, "ihe weekly plan is an operational plan 
from which one works. Written plans should deal 
With the "whats", "hows", and "whens". The 
••whats" refer to objectives, targets, outcomes, or 
goals that one seeks. The "hows" are strategies for 
achieving these anticipated outcomes. The "whens" 
refer to the development of a schedule or time- 
tablefor implementing one's plans. 


Educational administrators are likely to overestimate 
the number of issues which require special attention. 


Many management experts, for example, suggest that 
only about 25 percent of the issues faced by admini* 
strators could be classified as vita! with the re- 
maining 75 percent being trivial by comparison 
(Juran, 1964), These experts often refer to "Pareto's 
Law" as the genesis of the "vital few" and "trivial 
many" principle. In 1906, the Italian economist, 
Vilfredo Pareto, suggested that economic Inequcility 
was due in part to the unequal distribution of human 
ability In society, and could be predicted mathe- 
matically (Pareto, 1906). Applied to financial and 
business situations, "Pareto's Law" suggests, for 
example, that approximately 75 percent of the wealth 
of the nation is in the hands of 25 percent of the 
people. As another example, 25 percent of t^e phys- 
ical assets of a fine's account, was 75 percent of 
the Urn's value. Though the 25;75 ratio Is only an 
approximation, the mam point is that only a vital 
few, accounts for most of the value, and the trivia* 
many for the remainder. One popular example often 
used to illustrate the principle is to asl< one to list 
the value of all his or her posesslons. Typically, 
a few items account for most of their total wealth. 

In applying "Parsto's Law" to the work of admini- 
strators. It IS iikely that most of one's effectiveness 
results from only a few of the activities in which 
one engages. By treating all activities the same, 
the vital-few activities are slighted and the trivial- 
many get administrative attention beyond their 
worth in effectiveness m the school. 


Onjcker, P., The Effective Executive New York: 
Harper and Row, 1967, p. 24. 

Hemphill, J., Richards, J., and Peterson, R., 
Report of The Senior High-School Prinapalship 
Washington, D.C. : The National Association of 
Secondary School Pnncipals, 1965. 

Juran. J., Managerial Break Through New Vork; 
McGraw-Hill, 1964, 

Paroto, v.. Manuals dl economla polltica, con una 
intfoduzlone ulla sclenza social Milan: Societa 
Editr'ce Liberie, 1906 . 

Sergiovanni, T.J., Burlingame, M„ Coombs, P.O., * 
and Thurston, P»W., Governance and Admini- 
stration In Education, Englewood CHffs, N,J. : 
Prentice Hall, 1980, pp. 295-310, 

Sergiovanni, T.J., Handbook for Effective Depart- 
ment Leadership: Concepts and Practice for 
Today's Secondary Schools, Boston: Allyn & 
Bacon, 1977, pp. 57-61, 

Sproul, L.S„ "ManjgoMal Attention m New Edu- 
cational Systems", Paper prepared for seminar 
on Organizations Loosely Coupled Systems. 
University of Illinois, Urbana, November 13. 

Wcicott, H.J., The Man in the PrlnclpaVs Office 
New York: Holt, Rlnehart & Winston, 1973 . 


A new model for program evaluation: the appre- 
ciative onel 

Accounting for our schools: problems and 

C edibility and per^onnance: school princinals 
in times of administraj ve change. 

Establishment of this publication 
was made possible by funding frorr 
Deakin Unlver'ilty Foundation, 

Knezevich, " (ed.) The American School Super- 
intendent: An AASA Research Study Washington. 
D.C. : AASE Commission on the Preparation of 
Professional School Administrators, AASA, 
1971 . 

Kurte, L,B„ and Aldrich, H.E., "Mintzberg was 
right'; a duplication and extension of the nature 
of managerial work'\ Paper presented at the 
39th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Manage- 
menU Atlanta. Georgia, 10 August, 1979, 

Lassell. H.D., A Pre-View of Policy Sciences 
New York: Elsevier North-Holland, 1^71 

ER^Cberg, H,. The Nature of Managerial Work New 
™">™/ork: Harper and Row, 1973 , pp. 29-53. 


Printed at D«akin University printvry.