Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting Organized and Getting Things Done

No one has asked for my advice, but I am reading "Getting Organized in the Google Era" by Douglas C. Merill, the former chief information officer at Google, and it occurred to me that there are some organizational tools that I recommend which are the result of many years of owning a business, plus lots of committee work for non-profits. So, I'm going to share a few of my observations too about getting yourself organized to accomplish a task. These are NOT necessarily in the order you will do them....I'll try to to tweak that later.

1. Understand and articulate the goal that you are trying to accomplish. No committee, or business will move forward without a clearly defined end result.

2. Pick people, or employees, who you trust. Give them a sub-goal, or a sub-committee and let them do it without micro-managing.

3. Let your employees, or committee members take ownership of a part of the process, reporting back to the big picture on a regular basis.

4. Break down the task into do-able pieces. You can get overwhelmed by a big task if you do not do this. Break it down into little pieces, prioritize them, and do them ONE AT A TIME.

5. Make sure that your employees or committee members do not text, or answer e-mail, or multi-task during meetings. They won't know a thing that happened in the meeting.

6. Be flexible with the process toward the goal. Everything is changing so fast that sometimes you can't stick to a rigid timeline/task list. Improvise, but in a way that the final goal is still in mind.

7. Especially in the non-profit world, if you have no purpose to a committee...disband it. don't make people come to meetings attempting to fulfill some nebulous, or overly general goal. Nothing will happen and people will feel like their time is wasted.

8. As a leader, don't organize committees unless you are willing to articulate what they are to be doing, what the goal of the meetings should be.

9. Set up tasks that anyone can do. Let anyone who wants to participate be involved in these tasks. You will find leaders, and hard workers if you do this. There are too many times I have heard "we don't have people to do the work." If you assign simple task to people who want to help, you will find that many of them are leaders that can be called upon to manage the next event.

10. Finally..If you are the chair or leader of an event...don't assign yourself to any task. You will be busy enough putting out fires, and answering questions. Make sure that every part of the event is delegated, and you are free to manage.