Get Unstuck with a Simple Project Plan

Get Unstuck with a Simple Project Plan

Have you ever read a book that changed your life? At the recommendation of several friends in the business world, I recently completed Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. Donald promises that after reading his book you will be able to “use the 7 elements of great storytelling to grow your business.” Before reading Building a Story Brand, I had never been excited about marketing. It does not come naturally to me, I am not good at it, and it is not fun for me….at least these have been my excuses for when I don’t put in the time and effort needed as a business owner.

The content of Building a Story Brand really struck a chord with me and provided me with a way to view “marketing” like I haven’t before, but this isn’t a book review. The truly eye-opening result of the book was that I was reminded of the importance of two things for any successful endeavor:

  1. A clear vision that resonates and
  2. a simple project plan.

While I had hired marketing experts in the past to assist me with specific pieces of my branding and marketing, I did not have an overriding plan that resonated with me. This book provided that for me. For someone who helps clients clarify their goals and develop customized productivity plans for a living, I’m embarrassed to admit it took this long to realize what I was missing!

Building a Plan for Productivity

What have you been procrastinating, or avoiding, in work or life? What projects have been slow-moving or “stuck” within your office or business? What reasons have you, or your team, used for not taking action? Could it be that you also need a clear, concise plan that resonates? Project plans not only provide the step-by-step tasks needed to reach your goals but can also help you “get unstuck” and motivate you and your team. (For more tips on tackling procrastination, check out “Reduce Procrastination with 3 Powerful Steps”.)

Parts of a Successful Project Plan

When creating or revising a plan, be sure to include the following important aspects:

Create a Vision for Success

What will the final result look like? How will success feel? What will you be able to do that you can’t do now? What drives you and your team towards this vision?

Determine Your Goals and Actions

Define the high-level goals that are needed to reach your end vision and put specific action steps behind them. Don’t make it too difficult at first – you can fine tune as you go.

Evaluate Your Resources

What human, technology, budgetary and other resources are needed to reach your goals?  What do you have now and what additional resources are needed?

Schedule Your Actions

Once you have your actions and resources defined, you can determine a schedule for completion. Consider choosing an end-date and working backwards. Or, choose intermediate deadlines for the high-level goals and then schedule your action steps to meet those dates.

Celebrate and Maintain Your Success

Celebration is a great bridge between project completion and maintenance. You will also need to determine how you will maintain your success.

Consider Your Risks and Obstacles

For most projects or goals, it’s also important to consider and discuss any risks and obstacles you might encounter along the way and how they’ll be addressed.

Just Get Started

The most important thing is to get started, or “just do it” as Nike® would say. If you don’t have a complete, detailed vision or if you aren’t yet sure of the resources needed for each goal or task, that’s okay. You can start with a good framework and add to it – or even change direction if needed – as you go. Start small to gain momentum. Don’t waste another day before tackling that project, writing your book, or getting healthier. Whatever your end goal, just jot down your vision, goals and tasks and take action!

P.S. If plan development isn’t your thing, I’d love to help. I’ll listen to your needs, help you fine-tune your vision and goals, and document the action steps needed to reach your vision. I can also remain by your side to provide support and accountability as you walk through your customized plan. Schedule your free 30 minute productivity assessment to see if productivity coaching is right for you.

Are You Killing Your Team’s Productivity?

Are You Killing Your Team’s Productivity?

When someone chooses to follow me on Twitter, the follower receives a response asking “…what productivity-related topics would you like to see?” Most of the comments I receive in response relate to decluttering information, time management, or questions about productivity apps.  Thus, the following response from @StartFreshHere intrigued me: “Anonymity is a killer in the workplace – different ideas on honoring great work, and work ethic!”

It isn’t surprising that employee productivity and performance is directly correlated with the recognition they receive. A January 2007 survey by staffing firm Accountemps found that “frequent recognition of accomplishments” was the top non-monetary compensation named by full- and part-time office workers.

Whether you manage a business, a team, or a family, the same rules apply.  If you haven’t built recognition into your management processes, you may be killing your team’s productivity and morale.  While recognition is best done regularly throughout the year (consider scheduling reminders for set times or after large projects), the end of the year is a great time to reflect and acknowledge great work.

Following are tips to consider when creating, or improving upon, a recognition program for your employees or team members:

  • Some individuals appreciate public recognition, while others would rather remain private. Don’t make assumptions.  Ask them – How do you like to be thanked/recognized?
  • Be specific with your recognition. Focus on the specific traits and behaviors you value most and would like to see continue.
  • As for ways to recognize your employees, here are some ideas to get you started:
    • Non-public:
      • A financial bonus or gift certificate for a spa, a store that matches their interests, dinner, movies, or another local experience
      • A unique gift that shows you know them. For example, after a long tax season, a manager gave a dog-lover on his accounting team a framed photo of her dog and a gift certificate to a dog spa
      • An inspirational/motivational book
      • Extra time off or flex-time
    • Public:
      • A team dinner or meeting with public recognition for high performers
      • A team “thank-you” lunch
      • Flowers
      • Create a “Wall of Fame” to showcase outstanding contributions
      • Give the employee the best parking spot for a period of time
      • Ask employees to nominate each other for a weekly award
    • For more ideas: 151 Quick Ideas to Recognize and Reward Employees

I’d love to hear what has worked well for you when recognizing employees or team members.  Share your feedback with me on Twitter(@lvandekrol) or Facebook. Use #employeerecognition.