A great gift for every boss

“Khun Kriengsak, what do you think would be an impressive New Year gift for my boss?” Chalit asks me.

“Khun Chalit, what do you think your boss want the most?”

“It’s hard to think of anything. He’s already successful and wealthy. I can’t imagine anything he doesn’t have.”

“Gifts aren’t limited to tangible things,” I say. “What sort of intangible gifts could there be for your boss?”

“I guess they would be care, love or time,” says Chalit, who pauses before a “Eureka!” moment occurs to him. “Aha! I think time would be a very valuable gift for him.”


“He’s said to me several times, ‘I wish I could have more than 24 hours in a day.’ But I can’t make more than 24 hours for him.”

“That’s true. But you can make him have a more productive 24 hours.”

“What do you mean, Coach?”

“Khun Chalit, how much time do you spend interacting with your boss in a week?”

“I meet with him for half an hour every day to report on work progress and discuss issues related to my team. In the weekly executive committee meeting, I engage with him and the team for about an hour.”

“So on average, your boss spends about three-and-a-half hours a week with you?”

“That’s about right.”

“Do you think he could be more productive? Let’s say he could spend less time with you but get the same quality outcome, or spend the same amount of time and get a better outcome.”

“It’s possible. We could try spending less time to get the same result.”

“What would be a practical and also a stretch goal?” I ask.

“Coach, I plan to reduce the time spent with my boss by 30% while maintaining the same quality results.”

“That’s good. It means one hour a week or 52 hours a year to your boss. He could do lot of things with that time. Khun Chalit, what do you need to do to make that happen?”

“I think I will apply the principle of ‘do it right the first time’.”

“Tell me more.”

“I will pay attention from the beginning. Usually, he will assign work to me during the executive committee meeting. If I don’t understand the assignment, I need to ensure I ask him for clarification until I’m 100% clear. In the past, I was afraid to ask about every little detail, as I didn’t want to lose face. I probably asked him only half the questions I had in mind. I learned what I didn’t ask resulted in misunderstandings and consequently the wrong outcome.

“In short, it would save a lot of time in the long run if I clarify 100% of my questions prior to taking action.

“Second, my boss is a good questioner. He asks lots of questions. In the past, I didn’t anticipate many of his questions, so I had to go back and search for information instead of replying right away. If I anticipate all possible questions and prepare better in advance, this will save more of his time and mine.

“Third, I will deliver better opinions. In the past, when the boss has asked for my opinion, I would say he trusts it half the time. If I can make him trust me more than that, things will move faster. Both of us can save more time.”

“How do you plan to develop better opinions?”

“An opinion is about judgement. Coach, what do you think I should do in order to have better judgement?”

“Khun Chalit, what kind of judgements do you make that your boss has a tendency to doubt?”

“Market analysis.”


“The market analysis came from Khun Seree, one of my direct reports. He’s new to the job, so his analyses sometimes lack substance.”

“What would you do to improve the situation?”

“I will coach him when he’s preparing his reports. This will ensure that his part is solid and will not be challenged by my boss. If I coach him a couple of times it would help him to display better judgement in this aspect.”

“That’s good. What else you can do?”

He thinks.

“Coach, the executive committee meetings always start 10 minutes late. I have to confess I’m the reason, because I spend too much time gathering data before the meeting. Because I knew that my boss is very nice, and didn’t complain if I came late, I’ve formed a bad habit. Everyone including my boss was waiting for me.

“If I prepare well a day in advance, I’ll be able to come to the meeting 10 minutes earlier than scheduled. If the meeting starts on time, this will easily save my boss more time.

“Coach, I think my boss will be very happy with this New Year gift.”