Time Management Coaching Client:John S., Project Manager, Healthcare Industry Fortune 500 Co.
John, a high performing project manager, had recently taken on more responsibility spearheading strategic initiatives across divisions. One of the biggest challenges in his new role leading cross functional teams, was getting folks to deliver the assignments they had committed to, even though he was not their boss. John was spending far too much energy chasing follow ups, projects were getting stalled, and meetings gobbled up valuable time with no measurable results. John was searching for ways to improve the response rate to his communications, get projects unstuck, and improve the impact of these cross-functional team meetings.
Julie coached John in techniques to make it as easy and painless as possible for teams to deliver on their commitments. The key to getting projects unstuck begins with recognizing two facts: everyone is dealing with an overwhelming workload, and nothing feels better than getting things done. Two of his favorite techniques were:1) Control Perfectionism with Max-Mod-MinWhen planning meeting agendas, as well as when discussing assignments, align on expectations by first defining 3 levels of performance. What is the Maximum, Moderate or Minimum we could do? Then choose the level that is appropriate for the situation. This frees everyone of paralyzing perfectionism and prevents people spending more or less time than a project requires.2) Make Follow Ups Concrete and AutomaticBuild the action item and time estimate into the subject line, i.e. “Please call the vendor-- will take 15 min”, to cut through the clutter in people’s email boxes. If needed, add a short deadline reminder in the body on why the timing is important (e.g.“Sara needs vendor info by Tuesday so she can update budget for Board Meeting on Wed.). Also, write all follow up emails immediately following a meeting and schedule SEND dates with enough notice for team members to fit in the task before the deadline.
John was amazed at how quickly he saw results, breathing new life into projects that had been completely stalled, and getting positive feedback from team members and executives alike. Using Max-Mod-Min, his team targeted a valuable portion of a larger project, and were able to expedite the timeline significantly. John also found that setting follow-up emails all at once was very helpful, because everything is fresh and he can set-it and forget it. He received prompt answers from team members who previously needed multiple follow ups, many saying they now LOOK for his emails, because it helps them plan their time and feel a sense of accomplishment.
After a few months of implementation, John’s update was filled with many “Yipee’s”. He said “it feels great to help people make good stuff happen, and everyone is in shock by how fast things are getting approved and done."