To use a sports analogy, if you run with a ball on your own
from point A to point B, it will take you longer than simply
kicking it or throwing it to another person already at point
B. We try to do too much on our own. Whether we want all the glory,
think we can do it better, or simply just want it done, there is value
in getting others involved. This chapter isn’t about dumping, or even
delegating. It’s about teamwork. Depending on your position, you may
still have to supervise, validate the work, or make sure it gets done, but
you should find opportunities to avoid doing everything on your own.
Think about the expertise you have surrounding you. Do you
have the right people working on the right tasks? Start to keep a
list of contacts with their specific expertise so that you can quickly
reference it. If you are part of a team effort, schedule time with your
peers or co-workers, particularly if you’re all depending on each other’s
contributions. The benefit of a routine get-together is that it allows
people to obtain consolidated information in one sitting as opposed to
communications going back and forth with “reply all” emails that can
take up valuable time.
It’s important to have a meaningful and added-value manner for
people to get updates. If it’s not a meeting, at least create a consistent
time each week for a progress summary with everyone’s contributions.
The goal is to create a routine in which people know when and where
updates and answers will be given, which reduces surprises and questions
like, “Where do we stand on project A?” If you do set up a progress
report email, be sensitive to the amount of time it’s taking everyone.
You want meaningful content, but not time wasted for emails that go
unread or administrative tasks that take away from actually completing
the real work.
Once a routine meeting or progress report is established, clearly
define roles and responsibilities. This will hold people, including you,
accountable to meeting the deadlines and keeping people informed
of status updates. Knowing who is doing what and when is a critical
component of time management.
When dealing in team situations, it’s also important to divide and
conquer. Not everyone needs to be at every meeting. Have someone
who attended the meeting provide an update and any key deliverables
to the collective group. Also, it’s important for you to schedule actual
work time for yourself and/or sub-group to ensure time is not all spent
in meetings relating to what is being asked of you. As for meetings
taking up all of your day, you have the right and obligation, whether
you are the organizer or not, to question when meetings have run
their course and are no longer valuable. Don’t have meetings to set up
meetings. Look to get rid of time-wasting tasks.
Understand the importance of working as a team. A group of
people can get more done in less time than one person if the process and
roles are managed well. It is obvious, but is not always done effectively.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):
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- Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
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- From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
- The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood
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