There are five frogs sitting on a log. One decides to jump off.
How many are left sitting
on the log?
Five, because the one made a decision but never acted on it.
We often make decisions and then don’t follow through. Managers at every level gripe about this. They get their staff (or themselves) to say they’ll accomplish this or that by a deadline. The time comes and it’s not done. Why?
- They haven’t prioritized it
- They haven’t planned time for it
- There are other obstacles including some mental ones that prevent accomplishment.
- There is no one holding them accountable.
Let’s see how you as the manager can address these sticking points.
- It’s your job as a manger/owner/self-leader to determine how this task fits into the grand scheme of all the other things that have to be done and communicate that. It’s a follower’s job to say ‘Mr. Manager, you’ve given me 6 things that have to be done today. It’s humanly possible to get four of those done. Which ones are your priorities?’
- Most of us use a time management system – a paper, smartphone or online scheduler. If you really want to get something done, you’ll give it a realistic date and time and put it into your schedule as an appointment with yourself. You can also encourage/require your staff to do this. It’s a standard procedure for project management, and computerized company calendars were invented for this reason.
- Does the person you’re delegating this task to have the necessary skills? Are there obstacles in obtaining resources? Then there are mental obstacles, for instance, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of success, thinking too small, etc. How can you make your staff feel more empowered to succeed? Certainly not by brow-beating them which is part of an older but still out-there model of command and control management. Can you use coaching and collaboration to achieve better results?
- Accountability and follow up is an often neglected part of management. You assign tasks and then get on with your own work. But if your own work doesn’t include follow-up half way through the job and at the deadline, or if you don’t use technology to track the status of jobs, or if you don’t use staff meetings to engender a little peer pressure, you may find that people respond to the ‘issue of the hour’ instead of the ‘tasks due at proactive deadlines’. This creates a ‘putting out fires’ environment and everyone deals with a lot more stress and staff turn-over results.
As an owner/manager/self-leader which of the four points above resonates more with you and your organization: Prioritization? Time allocation? Lack of training, resources or success mentality? Accountability? Why? What would the ideal outcome be if you could fix it?