When was the last time you sat your entire team down and simply compared To Do lists? That may sound like a waste of time, but I'd encourage you to make it a priority if you can't remember the last time you did this or you've never done it. Why? if you're not all focusing on the right priorities, you're probably working harder than you need to be. If you're not all in sync with the same information, you may also be working against one another.
Years ago I was working with a bank's leadership team. One of the vice presidents commented during a work session that his assistant seemed to be over-loaded more than ever and she wasn't producing fast enough on the bank's key projects. I suggested he meet with her for just 15 minutes after that day's session to simply review her To Do list to get an idea of what she was working on and determine if she needed additional support. The next day, the vice president was rather quiet. He shared that he'd met with his assistant. In his words, "It was eye-opening and embarrassing." His assistant had over 35 items on her To Do list, which in and of itself wasn't surprising. The eye-opening and embarrassing part of this scenario was his realization that 10 of the items that were taking up most of her time were projects or tasks that were no longer priorities or had been cancelled all together. He had not communicated these changes to her. As a result, she was wasting her time working on projects that were no longer on his or the bank's radar screens. Instead of spending her time on the current key projects, she was working frantically on projects and tasks the leadership team no longer wanted.
To ensure you don't experience or create this kind of situation, take 15 minutes at least once a month to meet with your team and simply compare To Do lists. Reestablish or clarify the key projects and any revised project timelines so every team member is clear on them. Identify who is waiting for what from another team member, vendor, subcontractor, or from you. Determine why there are delays or snags and what you can do to clear the roadblocks for your team members. Finally, help your team members delete tasks that are no longer necessary or table projects that are temporarily on hold. However, remember whenever you table a project, you also need to set a timetable for bringing it back to life, continuing to table it, or ending it all together. The goal is to definitively move items off your teams' To Do lists. If items are not moving off of their lists, you need to help determine why. More often than not, it's simply a matter of communicating more clearly with your team on what's happening, what needs to happen, and what is no longer going to happen -- and why.
When you get the hang of keeping your team better informed, you'll be more in sync with your management responsibilities. So why not schedule some time to update your team? Why not schedule regular team sync sessions? Why not sync your team today?
Copyright MMXI - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about me on LinkedIn!