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Why I hate getting things done

by | 12 Dec, 2018 | People

Picture the scene. You’ve had your management meeting and set the rocks you have to complete over the next three months to keep the company on track with its strategy. Now it’s time to get things done.

First off, you talk to the team, relaying the priorities and what you need everyone to do. You’re all fired up and ready to get going. You start delegating tasks…but the response you get is less than enthusiastic:

“But how are we going to find time to do that? I’m so busy. I’m in back-to-back meetings today, tomorrow I need to run the reports and analyse the data so I can let you know what is/isn’t working, then Scott’s asked me to help him with a client…”

And so it goes on.

We’ve all worked in the world of “I’m busy” and it’s infuriating. Often there are things that need to be done, which are urgent or important and therefore need to take priority.

So rather than being a case of you getting things done, is it actually about getting other people to do things?

Is ‘busy’ the default answer?

Presenteeism is a term coined to describe employees that are physically at work but not being productive. In the ‘Your Life at Work Survey’ it suggests that many employees are putting in less than 50% effort on a daily basis. While research from shows that there is a tendency for people to waste time at work; the worst culprits are millennials – 60% report wasting over an hour every day.

When you look at it, people aren’t actually busy, it’s just the quickest, easiest response to give to a request. But why are they shirking work?

Because they’re not invested in your business. And that doesn’t mean financially invested; perhaps they don’t believe the overall vision, or they don’t agree with the company’s motivations for existing, maybe they want to get more personal development out of their role, or to feel like they made a difference today.

Research from AXA PPP healthcare agrees. It’s findings show that 42% of small businesses say their biggest productivity blocker is employees being disengaged or not enjoying their job.

How to engage your employees

Employees are motivated by being involved. It really is that simple. And it makes sense to involve them – you’ve got a lot to do if you’re to achieve your ambitious business plan, and you’re only one person so you can’t do it all. You need help and engaging your team is the best place to start.

Give them clarity
Tell them WHAT you need to achieve. Tell them WHY you need to achieve it. Tell them HOW you’re going to achieve it. Relate it back to the team as a whole, and them individually. Now they understand the vision, believe it’s achievable and see the role they need to play, so they’re invested in helping you to make it happen.

Empower them to get things done
We all want to be free to just get on with our jobs in the best way we know how. So yes, it might be hard to relinquish control. But just think…what if they find a better way of doing things? How good will that make them feel? How good is your team going to look? How confident will you be at the next strategy session?

Facilitate collaboration
When people work together you get to places you never dreamed possible. Last week Alister (our CEO) and I had a discussion about rewarding early adopters with a party. The plan could have ended there with a glitzy bash, but it didn’t, it continued to the point where we decided we’d give someone the opportunity to be sent into space – but more on that another time!

Give them recognition
In small business especially, people like to be seen and to know that their contribution is making a difference. So delegate responsibility, make them accountable for getting things done, and then put them on a pedestal to take all the glory when you get a great result.

Team tasks

In reality there’s very little we do by ourselves. We always need the help, support or guidance from our team, colleagues and peers. So involve them. Stop thinking about MY process and think about OUR process. Suddenly it’s about the team; it’s bigger than any one person and we’re answerable to someone other than ourselves. People are relying on us in order to do their job, which means they now want to get things done.


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