Three Steps to Getting More Done

by | May 6, 2019

Tired of blown deadlines, lack of production, and wasted time? Read this article to learn three steps to help you get more done in your organization.

The Problem

A point of frustration in many organizations is that projects aren’t delivered in the expected time frame. The common culprits are usually a combination of poor communication, conflicting priorities, and ill-defined – or a complete lack of – deadlines. These issues contribute to a cascading effect of items not being completed throughout the organization.

Example

The CEO of XYZ Construction asks her CFO to provide 3 year financial projections that she can present at her upcoming board meeting. She needs those projections as soon as possible to prepare for the meeting. The CFO needs information from each department to complete the projections. However, the sales team is revamping the compensation structure so the current information won’t be relevant for the projections. The CFO requests that the VP of Sales provides the updated comp plan ASAP so he can begin building the projections.

The CEO has also requested a sales plan from the VP of sales to present to the board. This is also a top priority and needs to be delivered ASAP. The sales plan hinges on some new marketing initiatives that have not yet been fully vetted and completed. The VP of Sales tells the Director of Marketing that he needs those initiatives delivered ASAP. The top priority for the Director of Marketing is completing the existing campaign so he can deliver a report of the results to the CEO for her board meeting.

The department heads have competing priorities and they certainly aren’t communicating with each other to effectively coordinate their priorities. On top of that, they essentially have no defined deadlines. Regardless of size, this can be a fairly typical scenario in siloed organizations.

The Three Steps

To significantly reduce the frustration associated with these issues while increasing your output, incorporate these three steps to get more done:

1. Develop lateral management. In his book “Predictable Success”, Les McKeown stresses the importance of developing lateral management to complement vertical (siloed) management. Lateral management can be accomplished through consistent and effective leadership and management meetings. These meetings should create the opportunity to discuss goals, tasks, and priorities. They will foster better communication and cross-functional activities to deliver on expectations.

2. Establish priorities. As the saying goes, “If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.” If the team understands the big picture, the “Why”, they can begin prioritizing tasks and goals logically. Start with the end in mind and work backwards to determine the necessary steps required to deliver on expectations. This will help reduce the amount of time wasted waiting for other people to finish their projects or tasks.

3. Set deadlines. How do you know what to aim for if you don’t have a target? “As soon as possible” is not a day on the calendar nor is it a time on the clock. It also doesn’t indicate the level of urgency under which the Do’er should operate. To you, ASAP may mean today, but to me it could mean once I get all of my other stuff done. A due date and time should be established with every task, goal, or expectation to avoid disappointment.

Conclusion

While these three steps seem simple, the devil is always in the details and the execution. You will want to find a system that incorporates these steps effectively.  We use EOS to break down the silos which improves communication and collaboration while also defining priorities and deadlines. Make your process intentional and be consistent so you can increase your production while reducing the frustration and disappointment.

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