So, you have a plan, now what? Organizing around that plan can be a big job. In my view, your role as a manager is to organize people and resources in order to achieve the objectives of the plan. This doesn’t sound that difficult, does it? I’m continually surprised by how many smart people struggle with this, including me…
Why is Organizing hard?
- People are difficult to predict and control. Our culture values diversity, but diversity in skills, motivations, belief systems, communication styles and opinions can create quite a challenge for managers trying to move a group of people toward a common goal. And in the current environment of virtual offices and telecommuting, getting everyone together for a meeting or a conference call can be tricky too.
- Resources are finite. With limited budgets and time we must be efficient, and efficiency requires organization. How much will this initiative cost? When will you need that money? What other resources do you need to be successful; when do you need them and for how long? Managers must be able to answer these questions and bring all of these moving parts together.
- We forget about the plan. Without something to guide your decisions and behavior, managing people, timelines and money can be extremely over-whelming. When you feel like things are spinning out of control, return to the plan. Have you been following it? What roadblocks have you run into that you didn’t anticipate? What needs to be changed given the current environment? Remind yourself and your team of the agreed upon path to success and follow it, closely.
- It’s boring. Most of the tasks associated with organizing are pretty basic – bringing people together, managing timelines and budgets. Being organized isn’t “sexy” and doesn’t provide immediate results.
Key Organizing Activities
- Stick to the plan and call out those who don’t. The plan should outline who is responsible for what – hold your team accountable.
- Over-communicate. People get distracted, they forget things – remind your people often what you expect from them, both verbally and in writing.
- Hold regular meetings to review the plan and your progress, but make them productive. Be disciplined; use the time you need and don’t waste the time you don’t. Have an objective for each meeting – did you meet it? If not, why not?
- Make lists of things you need to get done and the deadlines associated. (I use Tasks in Outlook, but there are many cool apps now too.)
- Put key dates and deadlines on your calendar and hold the group to them. Adjustments should be made when appropriate, but always having to reschedule meetings or consistently missing deadlines are signs of trouble.
Bottom line, organizing takes time and it’s often time spent on what many call “administrative” activities – making lists, populating your calendar, reviewing the plan. These are not unimportant tasks, although they’re often pushed aside or avoided in favor of something more interesting or immediately gratifying.
Managers: take some time to organize your people and resources; I think you’ll find it easier to achieve the objectives of the plan.
Comments or questions about Planning and/or Organizing? Please post below. Thank you!