I have been Blogging for a couple of years now. It may have taken me a little while to become comfortable with the creation, format and process associated with creating a posting, but I thought I had it down. I was familiar with how to do it…I thought.
The old saying is “Familiarity breeds contempt”. I don’t think that is the case. For me familiarity seemed to breed a confidence in my capabilities that resulted in a lack of attention to detail.
I wrote my last article (“It’s Not “What””) and did all of the appropriate and required steps in the process to make sure it was posted. I then went out to all of the various and assorted sites where I announce a new article and updated them. I thought I had done everything. Why wouldn’t I? It’s what I have been doing for the last 2 years.
The only difference was that I normally go out to my site to make sure the article is posted and that it is accessible. For some reason, I didn’t do that last time. I must have gotten distracted, or something else came up. In any event, I didn’t go look. I didn’t double check the end result / finished product.
If I had, I would have seen that I had not in fact posted my article. I had left it in the “Pending” file. I did a great job of notifying everyone that there was a new article posted for them to read, but didn’t close the loop of actually putting a new article out there for them to read.
In the process of becoming so comfortable, so familiar with the Blogging process I created both my own problem and a topic for my next article.
It is hard not to put things on “autopilot” when we are doing something that we have done many times in the past. When we are doing something we are familiar with, we have a tendency to not give it our entire attention. The end result is that eventually a mistake gets made in an area where it should not normally occur.
I would not have thought to talk about a continued focus on the basics and standard processes, but then I would have thought that I would not have made such a basic mistake as not making sure that I had in fact posted my last article.
I will check to make sure that this one does in fact get appropriately posted.
We have all attended senior management “all hands” meetings. These are invariably the meetings where senior management fulfills its obligation to try and communicate with the rest of the business. These meetings have the potential to really inspire the team. The reality is that they usually do not.
All hands meetings are usually appreciated for the attempt by management to communicate to the team. It has been a while since any of us has been graded on effort alone. We get reviewed on results. They can also be easily interpreted as management fulfilling its obligation to meet its self measured object to “communicate” with the team.
Much of the issue lies in the content presented to the team in the all hands communication session. There is usually a review of the group’s performance. This is good. Everyone wants to know where the team stands with respect to its goals or targets, and how it is doing with respect to previous periods. This provides the team with an overall frame of reference for their performance and position.
What follows is normally a review of “what” is to be done next. What the next goal is. What is yet to be done. What needs to be improved. When I hear this sort of information I am reminded of the satires of war movies where the general addresses the soldiers preparing for battle and tells them.
”Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to take that hill. When we’re done there, we’re going to take the next hill. After that we’re going to take the next hill. When we get up on top of that hill, we’re going to look around and see if there are any other hills we want to take….”
Objectives are great. Now everyone knows “What” the team is going to do. Everyone probably had a good idea of what they were going to do next before the meeting. The team now wants to hear How they are going to achieve the goal. Which resources are to be used. Who will have leadership responsibilities. In short, they want to hear a high level review of the “The Plan”.
An all hands meeting where you do not communicate the organizational strategy or plan is almost akin to telling your organization that you don’t have a plan, even if you do. I have stated in the past that if you provide your team a blank page (no information) chances are that you will not like the story that they will write on it. That is the case here.
The individual members of the team need to at least understand the high level aspects of the team strategy, so they can internalize them and create their own individual strategies and goals that support and contribute to the team goals. By providing more than just a “what” is needed, and including a little more of “why” its needed and “how” we propose to get it, you can turn an all hands meeting back into a much more useful management tool.