by Georgie Mann, Green Hat People
We live in a highly time pressured world with hundreds of different priorities vying for our attention. Strict time limits and deadlines can be motivating and exciting or they can cause stress, which can adversely impact on productivity and quality of work.
Deadline pressures affect a company’s results and staff morale either in a positive or negative way. Get it right and it creates a highly-motivated workforce and thriving business. Get it wrong and the flood of responsibilities can be overwhelming. Here at Green Hat People, we constantly encounter clients that struggle with deadlines, and let’s face it which business doesn’t? Read on for some useful tips on ‘How to eliminate the dread of deadlines and turn them into positive forces for growth’:
Multi-tasking Fact or Fiction?
An excellent easy exercise to demonstrate how multi-tasking often, contrary to popular belief, hurts productivity is Dave Crenshaw’s ‘The Myth of Multi-tasking’, which you can complete yourself with a couple of work colleagues in just a few minutes. Click here for the pdf The ‘aha’ moment is quite telling. So how do you and your employees learn to embrace challenges and deadlines creating a sense of optimism, achievement and cohesion within a team, rather than the headless chicken syndrome of lots of noise, discordant activities and everyone running around achieving not a lot or dare we say in a worst-case scenario – positively hurting your business?
If you are reading this then it is likely that you are looking for a way out of the problem of never having enough time, (stress inducing) towards being hugely productive with the result of riding the crest of a wave instead of swimming against the tide.
The great business thinker, Stephen Covey nailed the crux of this problem. “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important” So how does this help? Dividing every task into four categories begins to order and make sense of which tasks to focus on to achieve the desired results. This can be used in all areas of our lives. After producing a list of tasks, projects etc., start to sort them into 4 categories, marking each one with a letter, A, B, C or D. A is for important and urgent, B = Important but not urgent, C = Urgent but not important and D = not urgent and not important. D becomes our ‘Not to Do List’ and what a relief that is consigning work there. Tackling the Important and Urgent list and assigning projected timescales and afterwards actual time taken is the next step. Click here for the full time management exercise.
We all know the saying ‘less haste, more speed’ but what does it actually mean in the context of deadlines and time management? At Green Hat People we immerse the attendees in our Deadline business game in a situation where the answers become not only obvious by the end of the session, but replicatable back in the real office and the flawed thinking is also perceived and identified.
When fast, first response, reactive solutions are acted on without pause or due consideration, the team quickly ends up firefighting, task switching, disorganised and losing sight of the objective. To add to this if the game is played by many teams, the competitive stakes are also raised, creating another dynamic.
These responses usually fall under task A & C lists and even Task D where someone higher up deems it needs to be done ‘yesterday’. Having the ability to even weed out some of the urgent but not important items, can dramatically improve performance. Whereas introducing some Task B creative thinking, it encourages, noting the first response, idea or action, but takes a pause to think of some alternative ways of responding ending up, by slowing down (less haste), and achieving more readily the objectives and goals of the business game, with more creativity and group cohesion (more speed).
Learning how to be creative, focused and successful can be learnt and in an experiential way rather than dryly from a flip-chart. Our Business games work because they are powerful experiences that cannot be forgotten, as they become part of the fabric of your teams. The skills and results of a short 90-minute game (no not football!) can then be easily transferred back to the workplace where they, in our experience, begin to make fundamental shifts in businesses that are up against time constraints.
If you are needing to change the increasing demands of deadlines or targets at work from pressurised chaos into problem solving, forward thinking and success, this business game could work for you. Come and take a look at how this short, effective game works and decide for yourself. If you are up against deadlines and haven’t got any time to do that, then this might be the very answer you need.
Let us help you to make more speed and less haste having serious fun building your business.