Now that January is almost history, it’s time for a quick reflection. The first month of the year can be a little overwhelming. You’re recovering from holiday break, looking back on the prior year, and thinking of the million goals you have for the current year . . . all while you’re in quicksand!
As we prepare to celebrate 33 years of Stafford Printing, I know how time can become a blur. I don’t know exactly where I picked up these “eight practices for effectiveness,” but I want to share them here because I think they can be helpful when you’re trying to get organized and move forward on your plans for the year.
- Ask yourself, what needs to be done now? Choose just one big task, or two maximum. Most people don’t have the capacity to focus on multiple major projects simultaneously, so it’s better to work on one thing at a time and give it your full attention.
- Another question: what is right for your business? Be brutally honest with yourself about this one. Chasing silver objects is great in fiction, but not so much in real life.
- Develop an action plan for each project, or what some call a “statement of intent.” This should be a written plan detailing exactly what steps you intend to take to accomplish your goal, and in what time frame.
- Take personal responsibility for decisions. Don’t just raise the flag – make sure there is buy-in, direction, accountability, and follow-up.
- You also need to take responsibility for communicating. Though technology has taken us to outer space and back, it hasn’t come up with a way to transmit the information in our brains and hearts to interested parties.
- Focus on opportunities rather than problems. This goes back to accountability – problem-solving does not produce results. Exploiting opportunities does.
- Run productive meetings. Kill the PowerPoint. The end.
- That old saying “there is no I in team” may be trite and overused, but it’s also true. You have to think in terms of “we,” and make decisions through that lens.
The first two practices give you knowledge; the next four convert knowledge into effective action; the last two ensure that the organization feels responsible and accountable. This is a great recipe not only for getting projects done, but also for staying true to your company values and taking care of your team in the process.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a bonus tip that comes from personal experience: listen first, speak last.