Getting Things Done


(By Buzz Knight) The fast pace of life and business can take its toll. Everyone is often running in multiple directions, trying to cover every responsibility with acceptable standards. Tasks have been piled on to so many members of the workforce that something has to give.

Multi-tasking is almost mandatory to survive, yet we know it is a crushing blow to clarity. Sometimes it’s great to dust off a classic management book and pluck from it sage advice that still works to this day.

Originally published in 2001, David Allen’s book Getting Things Done is appropriate for all industries, especially radio at this crucial time for an action-oriented environment. We’ve all been part of initiatives that sucked a lot of time out of everybody’s day that nobody will ever get back.

Sometimes the room is in paralysis analysis, running in circles, and getting nothing done. At other moments, the meeting is being led by or dominated by the “smartest person in the room” who is giving little room for collaboration.

If you lead a team or can make a difference in your organization here are some important takeaways from Getting Things Done.

First, before you gather your team together, set some simple ground rules that everyone must be “all in” on. The most important one? You guessed it, have everyone put their cell phones away to truly concentrate on the work that needs to be done. The meeting will be a waste if you don’t set that tone for a focused, non-distracted meeting right away.

Dave Allen has devised a simple five-step system that is the backbone of an action-oriented organization.

  1. Capture
  2. Clarify
  3. Organize
  4. Reflect
  5. Engage

It’s great to get a group together for a problem-solving or brainstorming session but there is another important priority all need to agree on.

Every project that is discussed should have a defined Next Action. It’s great to decide you are taking on a big project, but without a next step, the process is all jive and will likely result in procrastination. If that occurs, then let the Next Action be a small number of tasks that are needed to move things forward.

Break down the big problem or task into smaller more manageable tasks.

Lastly, someone in a position of authority needs to set an ideal and enforced deadline for completion. If you and your team can crack the clarity code, there’s another important outcome that will occur from this process. You’ll have a happier and more satisfied workforce.

Buzz Knight can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]. Read Buzz’ Radio Ink archives here.


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