Al Levi: Mastering the master project list
Create a process to get your staff on-board with new policies and projects.
Why is it that your staff isn’t quite as excited as you are when you discuss a new project, a new process, new policy or a habit you want to change?
Because they feel it’s annoying!
This is especially true if you have these divine inspirations in a never-ending and never organized fashion. It’s even worse if it’s always you who is doing the proposing of a new project or putting into place a new change to the work place that they have to live with.
There’s typically no discipline, no master plan and this usually comes after somebody screwed up something. More likely, it’s a half-baked idea to address some kind of weird mistake that may have occurred.
Or, you’ve spent time doing a Google search, attending an online seminar, webinar or actually went to an industry conference, or are part of a trade association or affinity group. There’s no shortage of ways to get ideas. And many of them can be great ideas. But, are you really lacking great ideas or simply greater implementation?
IMPORTANCE OF IMPLEMENTATION
When do you invite solutions from others? The answer is usually never. Funny thing is, your staff are out there doing the day-to-day work and see firsthand what needs to be addressed. Many have terrific ideas if we, as owners, would only stop and ask them to problem solve with us. Usually, we don’t. Not sure if it’s because we, as owners, feel we need to have all the answers to all the problems and challenges, or that we have too much ego to ask for help. Maybe it’s a little of both.
Sometimes, you may actually “half” hear their thoughts and ideas but you quickly shoot them down so they learn fast to clam up since there’s no profit to being proactive. What’s the danger here? If you cut your staff out of the process, many secretly seek to undermine the success of what you’re trying to do.
Almost universally, there is little to no buy-in, and when it is forgotten, the staff thinks, “Same as always until the next great idea pops into their head.”
Your staff has been trained to just stand still because you’ll lose interest when the next shiny object gains your attention. Once again, there’s no shortage of ideas and no shortage of ways to get a ton of information. It’s literally at our fingertips in every form of technology we touch. The biggest problem facing companies today is their woeful inability to get things implemented and implemented correctly for the long run. Couple all of this with a deplorable lack of creating buy-in from the people you need it most from — your staff — and it’s clear the missing piece is you’re not allowing the team to help. This is where it all falls apart.
FUNNEL YOUR LIST
What does work? Creating a master project list that is a living breathing document designed to contain all new projects, any proposed changes to systems, processes and policies to the way you do work today. Think of it as a funnel.
As you methodically get input from all your staff on what should be on this list, you can periodically visit the list as a group and ask which of these multiple projects will either solve your biggest problem or challenge, or give you your greatest chance to grow and be profitable.
The next step down from the top of the master project list funnel is reaching a Top 30 list. These are the 30 projects and habits that will have the greatest impact on your company if put into place in the next year.
The last step down the funnel is to revisit the Top 30 and whittle it down one more time by using the same filters to determine which projects and/or habits provide the best chance to problem solve or grow and become profitable.
Now, you and your team can work on cranking out the Top Five list, and as you complete a project, you can rollover something new from the Top 30 list. This is how you get buy-in, get things done in the right way, in the right order and address things in a logical way. As you work down the Top 30 list, you revisit the master project list and see what should be moved over to the Top 30.
Keep doing this and you too will have mastered the master project list!