View Full Version : GTD as a leader - ideas?
10-29-2003, 07:24 AM
I've just begun work in my first position of management. I'm new to the organization and am responsible for nine people in three departments. I'd like to teach Getting Things Done by example -- has anyone had success in this or any advice?
Here's one way I plan to expose everybody to GTD. For my first all-staff meeting I'll hand out 5X8 cards and markers to everybody. We'll spend about 10 minutes on our own doing a GTD-style "mind-sweep" with one item on each card. I'll draw a grid on a white board with "runway" at the bottom working up to "50,000 feet" and divide it horizontally into thirds for short, medium and long term. Then I'll take the stack of completed cards and just start taping them to the board at their appropriate vertical and horizontal levels with the whole group's input on where each card should be placed.
My vision is for that completed board to be a graphical first draft of a strategic plan. Duplicated cards will show me specific areas of concern for the staff. Since I'm new this is a chance to see at a glance any functional areas I'm not yet familiar with. And, best of all, its a team approach getting the entire staff involved in the process.
So has anyone else done GTD in a group setting like this?
Thanks for the input,
I should start by mentioning that I have never supervised that many people (usually one or two at a time, and we have a fairly casual work environment). Something I tend to do is print out the project, with the outcome, and the list of associated next actions along with the names of the people those actions are delegated to, so that the person I'm working with doesn't feel disconnected from the process, understands what the entire team is working toward, and sees their place in it. In terms of implementing GTD with these folks, they can see my process because I'm very open with it. Don't know if that helps. Also, have you considered buying each of them a copy of the book, or would that be too imposing?
My recommendation for a group activity is to use the MindManager program. This is an excellent tool to graphically display a cluster of ideas and thoughts. There is a trial version available. I have had excellent feedback in my group - the mindmaps turn seemingly chaotic group meetings into 'big picture' experiences.
With respect to 'Gtd' in your group, I am assuming that you follow the basic outlines of GTD. It is easier to inspire your group members to follow your lead when they can see the success you have with 'GTD'.
10-29-2003, 05:27 PM
It is easier to inspire your group members to follow your lead when they can see the success you have with 'GTD'.
Exactly. I recommend that you just let your colleagues develop some attraction to GTD by observing how you use it and how it helps you.
With all due respect, if I had a new manager who hit me with what you have planned for your first meeting, I would be completely put off. I strongly recommend a more subtle approach.
10-29-2003, 07:01 PM
Let me just second Bill Kratz's comment from a junior/mid-manager perspective. Lead by example, not by fiat. If you want to try it anyway, two suggestions: 1) think through first issues such as what you'll do if someone doesn't want to follow your lead, and 2) don't call what you're doing anything (especially GTD)--just use the process to solve a problem and see if your team finds value in the process (you might even stop below the 40-50K levels to avoid getting to what they could think is "foo foo fluffy stuff". YMMV...FWIW.
10-30-2003, 05:16 AM
Thanks for the input. I'm really not trying to hit anyone over the head with this. Not going to place a gift-wrapped copy of the book on each desk for Christmas or anything.
I will be cautious with this approach for our first big meeting. I don't plan to tell people "this is GTD and how you do it." I'm really using the process the way I would at my desk if I had met with each person one on one and captured each of their immediate and long term concerns (which, in fact, I already have.)
The biggest problem I've seen is that the three departments have significant overlap, but haven't functioned as a team. Getting everything out there at once together might help each person see how their area fits in the big picture.
Maybe I'll soften it up even more by dropping the altitude analogy and just using "Projects", "Goals", "Area of Focus", and put the mission statement right at the top.
By the way, I'm working for a non-profit where we do try to tie our work directly to the mission. So that might help with some initial buy-in.
Thanks for the feedback.
11-04-2003, 01:14 PM
I manage about 500 people and have had little luck with an out front approach.
Sounds like your initial approach should be to get high performing team behavior across the groups. You could read Howard Gutman's book on high performance teams. (don't remember exact title at the moment, but it was just published.)
When you start to work on high performance, the team will need to agree protocols on how to work together, that's when you can toss out the GTD idea for the group to agree on.
11-16-2003, 06:17 AM
You may want to give Patrick Lencioni's book mentioned in my subject line a try. Easy read, too. It has helped me immensely in forming a cohesive leadership team in the company I have.
06-18-2004, 11:02 PM
I manage a 40 people company and would like to give them a presentation on GTD. Does anyone have a ready-made slideshow?
06-19-2004, 08:04 AM
Have you looked at the Time Design website? There is a section on there called "Why it works" that is a slide show I think you will find very comparable to GtD. (David's involvement with Time Design is extensive, so that's no surprise.) See if that will get you what you need.
06-19-2004, 07:53 PM
I agree with the other posts that doing a big blitz up front will likely put people off.
I manage about 40 people in a couple of different areas. What I have done is to just start using the language and techniques--gradually make it part of the way you do business with people. Here are some suggestions:
"So what is the next action we need to take on that?"
"What are the projects you are currently working on?"
"What are we trying to accomplish with this?'
I recently was handed a work group to manage after two other leaders of this group left. We had a significant inspection coming down from on high and needed to get organized fast.
I stood up at the white board in the conference room and asked the team, "I need to get up to speed on things here. What projects are we working on, or need to get worked on?" (They did a mind sweep and didn't even know they were doing it).
Once I had a list of projects, I went back and clarified each of them with an outcome and then asked for next actions and who was going to be responsible for it. We prioritized the projects on the ones that needed to get done now and the ones that could wait until after this big inspection.
It was simple, fast, no nonsense. A group that was sort of drifiting without leadership suddenly got energized. All I did was basic GTD stuff and I never said anything about GTD.
06-21-2004, 11:14 AM
I had a similar question a few months back and found Jason Womack's article on modeling http://www.davidco.com/coaches_corner/Jason_Womack/article18.html very helpful. I was eager to get people moving with GTD but have found that making tools available, answering questions when they are asked, and NOT evangelizing is the best approach for me. I'm still struggling with my own implementation (happily, though). Still, when someone says "I forgot" I can't resist asking, "Where did you write it down?"