Managing a team can be a difficult task. There are so many moving parts and so many chances for things to fall through the cracks. Throw in different work styles and personalities, and you may be struggling to move the needle on the big projects on your agenda. Even with the help of project management tools and other technology, you may struggle to connect the dots and help your team with their productivity.
As a business coach, one of the things that I teach all my clients to do is create weekly "big rock reports" and to have their executive team members do the same and share them amongst themselves. The premise is really simple: Each week you take a moment to jot down the big things that you did to move the needle -- your victories, your challenges and updates, and your plan for the following week. But I have probably read through thousands of these big rock reports over the years, and I can say that they aren't all created equal. Some people are naturally really good at laying out the details from the week prior, deciding what steps to take next, and articulating where they are experiencing roadblocks. And then some are short and to the point, with few or no action steps. So today, I wanted to discuss the one thing that you can encourage your team to do each and every week to help them accomplish more.
Make It an Action Item
Fuzzy thinking is a productivity killer. Let's say that your team member puts "Marketing Report" on their weekly big rock report. While this is something that is important to your team, there isn't a lot of information surrounding that item on their weekly list. Are they planning on creating the marketing report? Sharing it with other team members? Reviewing it for low hanging fruit? Researching KPIs and setting goals for the upcoming quarter? Reformatting the list to be in blue with bullet points? All are action items that fall under the "marketing report" umbrella, but all have very different outcomes and effects on your business and the path ahead.
So, if you want to help your team be more productive, encourage them to have a specific action behavior when they define things on their reports and to-do lists. Bring it up in meetings. Show examples through your own reporting. Ask for clarification when something is entered into the project management tools your company uses. Anywhere you see that they've defined a to-do in a fuzzy way, encourage them to expand their description. Over time, you will notice that you have to ask less and less as it becomes a part of your company culture and a habit for everyone.
Just like any other company cultural item, the more you practice this, the more likely it will make a difference in your business overall. And this is one that is worth the time and effort to make it a habit.