Time As An Asset

I have been thinking about leadership these days. I give an annual lecture on leadership at both the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University’s Fox School of Business, and have done so for many years. It is based on the premise that time and where one spends it is one of the defining attributes of good leadership.

Time is an asset that you as an individual have some control over. How you spend it, what you spend it on, and with what intensity, is very much an individual decision. If one looks at time as an investment, then it takes on the attribute of providing a return. Time spent reading, time spent exercising, time spent listening, time spent being a parent, time in reflection or prayer, time in the service to others all provide a return – all be it on a very individual scale.

In my experience, individuals that I would consider leaders share the attribute of being very deliberate with their time. The overwhelming observation is that leaders are curious and seek information, listen with intention, and actively set aside time to reflect. They understand intuitively that information and decision making is a team sport. They also understand that accountability is first an individual attribute before it is an organizational one.

Time spent is also a reflection of priorities. It is here that my current work at ECS provides insights. I deeply respect individuals who provide financial resources to help us do the work that we do. What inspire me are individuals who also give of their time in the service of others. Our volunteers at ECS, and volunteers in this work overall, represent individual leadership and accountability at its best.

I recently spent a few hours with the good people of Darby, ECS, and some fellow Kenyon alumni clearing a lot and building raised beds in anticipation of an urban garden taking shape in Darby – a joint partnership with the Diocese. We worked together and shared a meal. I saw leadership at work, and I am privileged to witness it every day.

If you agree that time is indeed an asset, one you control and one that yields you a return, we would love for you to join us in our work. We can always use a leader.