CHARLES R. HOBBS:
THE PYRAMID PRINCIPLE
Charles R. Hobbs is perhaps the most influential time management
trainer of the 1970's & 1980's. Yet I have never seen anything about him on the web. The following paragraphs will help
to address that gap.
During the 1980’s, Charles R. Hobbs helped popularize
value-based time management training.
Hobbs received his doctorate from Teacher’s
college at Columbia University. In 1974, he left his position as Associate Director of the Teacher Development Program and
spent the next eighteen months developing his Time Power system. Hobbs sees his curriculum as the logical outgrowth of his
"life career question": "How can a teacher bring about change in the lives of people through group instruction?"
Hobbs decided that existing time management training was "mechanical and disconnected."
Hobbs writes:The ideas they taught were not interrelated into a cohesive system.
The humanness of the people was casually traded for ploys to "get the job done," and the jobs that were being done
…were too-often low yielding activities draped in the cloak of screaming urgency; impulses, not priorities.
He wanted a system that would "help the student attain measurable increases
in his personal productivity at work while maintaining a balanced personal life perspective." Hobbs says that Time Power
causes "permanent change" in people because it builds the "continuity of experience" advocated by John
Dewey, the educator and philosopher: Dewey proposed that each experience builds
on what has gone before and modifies the quality of what comes after. It came to me that the planning of goals in light of
one’s total experience calls for the same kind of continuity.
Hobbs decided, was to tie together each individual’s personal values, goals, and daily planning into one continuous
Hobbs says you should determine what ideas make up your personal value
system and write each of them as an action statement. These are very general statements that represent the "highest priorities
in life." Hobbs calls these statements "unifying principles." They can form the basis for setting goals and
making other decisions.
Examples include: Commit to a more excellent way.
Earn the good will of others. Be honest. Be a leader. Believe in people. Grow intellectually. Have personal integrity.
Hobbs states:There is a reality that few people recognize. An individual can
not effectively manage time without personal congruity, and congruity is not possible without clearly defined values that
are brought under control in personal thought and performance.
congruity as "experiencing balance, harmony, and appropriateness with events in your life." Incongruity is "tinkering
with tantalizing trivialities." You can achieve "self-unification" when there is congruity between your value
system and actual performance. According to Hobbs: As you form a congruity
between what you believe to be right and how you perform, you will experience the highest form of self-actualization.
Hobbs says he is not trying to impose any particular value system. The purpose of
his program is to reach all persons no matter where they are "coming from."
persons would go to the inspirational literature of their religions to help them form their unifying principles. Hobbs says
many secular sources, such as Shakespeare and other classic literature, may also include the "highest truths." Hobbs
found his own best treatment of "humility" in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales . He also recommends biographies
for generating ideas on unifying principles. He advises against relying on the field of psychology, since much of it is "theory"
that has not yet "stood the test of time."
All other goals build on
these "unifying principles." From that point, planning goes to goals that are increasingly specific. Long-range
goals build upon the unifying principles. Intermediate goals build upon the long-range goals. Daily goals include actions
that help achieve the intermediate goals.
Hobbs calls this the "productivity
pyramid." It is illustrated as a pyramid with the unifying principles at the base and daily actions at the top.
Hobbs recommends a 15-minute planning session every day to maintain continuity in the planning process.
The daily plan, goals, and unifying principles all go into a Day-Timer organizer. The format he recommends
has a two-page spread for each day of the month. Available from Day-Timers, Inc., in Allentown, Pennsylvania, they come in
sizes ranging from pocket-size to full letter-size.
Regardless of the size selected,
Hobbs says you must carry the Day-Timer everywhere you go. The idea is to keep all of planning materials constantly available
and to have a place to write incoming data. You must limit yourself to only one Day-Timer: If you use more than one, you’ll
be "flitting back and forth" between them trying to find information.
use of the Day-Timer builds upon Hobbs’ "theory of accessibility," developed in his doctoral dissertation
at Columbia University. The theory states: "If a goal is meaningfully, directly, and continually visible, your chances
of achieving it increase." By keeping their values, goals, and planning in the Day-Timer, people will be more likely
to perform in the ways they had intended.
The system includes a series of questions
to help select and prioritize the unifying principles, personal life goals, goals with an organization, and items on a daily
Time Power also includes "productivity goals." These are
ongoing goals that emphasize time management itself. Their purpose is to help keep people focused on the need for time management
and to help them succeed with the system.
Here are some examples of productivity
- Do the most vital task now.
TV programs to the vital few--if any.
- Be sensitive to the vital priorities
- Clean my desk every afternoon before leaving work.
- Never seek a solution to a problem until it is clearly defined.
talking with someone, take 100% of the responsibility for seeing that communication is achieved.
- Never say in 100 words what can be better said in ten.
suggests that you place a list of productivity goals in the Day-Timer and re-write two or three of them on each daily action
Copyright material by Grady McAllister, at http://vasthead.com/Time/tm_pap1.html
Downloaded: 3rd July 2009