Tag Archives: organization

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Getting Things Done (GTD)

If you’re like me, you learned about David Allen’s GTD method about 10 years ago. While not an early adopter (since GTD was published in 2002) there was still some geeking out on this new productivity method.

Then there are a number of you who don’t care. You don’t need a method for GTD. You just put your head down and get things done. No need for tricks, tips or frills. (Boy, do I envy you!)

Regardless of where you land on either side of the conversation, I want to highlight the imperative key to unlocking productive action. Namely, Clarity.

Okay, Alan. Clarity seems like a broad concept to state as “the key” to GTD.

I’ll clarify by sharing a familiar scenario:

  • Manager hires new team member that has industry experience, but from a different culture and business approach.
  • On-boarding ensues and new hire is given information about company culture, industry approach, and his/her responsiblity.
  • Post on-boarding new hire is expected to get after it.
  • In the first two to four weeks, the new hire is scrambling to keep learning. Working to grasp company tools, tactics, contacts (internal and external), culture, etc.
  • In the first two to four months, the new hire is feeling tired, colleagues may feel like he/she is not pulling their weight, and the direct manager is likely unclear why the new hire seems to be producing “so little”.

Let’s end the scenario right there. While we could go on let’s get straight to the solution.

The Key to GTD

The missing clarity that I was highlighting early is this. As leaders, we must understand our personal wiring, have sharp tools, but most importantly get REALLY clear on communicating expectations.

What does that look like practically?

Good question. The foundation of GTD is having…

  1. A clear understanding of the objective (and number of them)
  2. Proficiency to prioritize said objectives in order of importance
  3. Competency to accurately execute action

I really like how the military has modeled this for us. They make it even more simple. Prioritize and Execute.

Quality GTD Leadership

My point here is that most of the time we get caught up with someone not GTD in the same manner that we do. Or a person prefers different tools than we like. The reality, as the leader, is that our job is to make crystal clear what the concrete expectations are.

Are we so clear that when a team member begins to “drop the ball” there is no doubt that you set them up for a “Win”? Or is there reasonable doubt that they were not given a fair shake in GTD. Much of the time we burn through employees because we deem them unsuitable for a job when in reality they were never given the clarity they needed to be successful.

Once we’re crystal clear in communication, setting concrete expectations, etc. Then we will adequately know if someone is not a good fit. Instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Do you disagree with my GTD assessment?

I welcome feedback or even pushback!

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

This article previously appeared at Shandel Group.

may 6

Your Interpersonal Best

What would you do to improve your interpersonal skills? Last time we looked at what interpersonal skills are, and why having strong ones leads to success.

Now it’s time to get down to work!

Here are four activities you can do to improve your relationships and boost your professional and personal sociability. Trust me, it’s worth the effort!

Activity 1: Improving Existing Relationships

Create a chart with four columns with these headings: Person’s Name, Quality of Relationship (1-5 scale), Goals for Improving Relationship, and Due Date.

Now list the people with whom you work regularly. Fill in the chart, evaluating your relationship with each person (on a scale of 1-5 in which 1 is the best and 5 is the worst) and setting goals toward improving your relationships with these individuals. Make sure you list something positive you can do for everyone, including people you already get along very well with.

Be sure to set dates for all your goals, and then hold yourself accountable!

Activity 2: Ask for Honest Feedback

Ask several people you trust for their feedback on your leadership style. Choose people at a variety of levels of your organization such as, management, peers or employees.

Make an appointment with each person to talk formally. Use the following questions as a guide to your discussion. Remember to be open and not defensive.

  • How would you describe my leadership style?
  • What do I do well in my role as a leader?
  • What do others do better? How could I improve my skills?
  • Am I people oriented?
  • Are there any specific situations you thought I handled particularly well?
  • Are there any specific situations you thought I could have handled better? What did you think I should have done?
  • Do I seem assertive but not overbearing, or am I too forceful in stating my desires and plans?

Activity 3: Review of Your Skills

Ask someone you trust to observe you as you present a new idea or project to others. Have the person take notes and give you feedback on how you handled the following:

  • Presenting yourself
  • Presenting your ideas
  • Sounding enthusiastic and positive about your plans
  • Persuading others that your idea would benefit them or those they serve
  • Politely fielding questions and managing disagreement
  • Being assertive but not aggressive
  • Other areas observed during your attempt to persuade someone of the merits of your idea or plan

Activity 4: Observing Others

Make a point of observing people in your organization who are particularly good at gaining support and agreement from others. Answer these questions:

  • What technique does each person use to persuade people?
  • How do they present themselves?
  • How do they present their ideas?
  • How do they handle disagreements and conflict?
  • What do you like best about how they present new ideas or programs?

Remember, communicating effectively, building rapport, and relating well to all kinds of people are essential skills for any successful person. And, one can never stop getting better at them! So I challenge you today to get going on these activities – you, your organization, your circle of acquaintances and family, all will be happier for it!

Your Coach,