I used to think that the key to success was just hard work. Meaning the more time and effort I’d put in, the greater the output.
I wasn’t completely wrong, but I realized over time while working hard is important, it only gives incremental benefits.
Have you heard of the phrase “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”?
It means when individual parts are connected to form one entity; they are worth more than if the parts were in silos.
This idea is relevant because you can’t get path-breaking results by just working hard individually. You need to work as a team with the right people. That’s how great businesses are built.
A crucial part of working in a successful team is keeping track of the commitments they’ve made to you, else things will fall through the cracks.
Unfortunately, most people use their minds to track commitments, and as a result, they lose track of what they wanted to achieve and waste their time dealing with emergencies & putting out fires.
So how do you get good at delegating & tracking?
All it takes is maintaining specific lists and reviewing them periodically. I’ll show you the ones I use, and how I’ve built the rhythm of reviewing them. The strategies I’m sharing here are taken from our practice of GTD & Holacracy. It’s helped me to keep track of work happening across different businesses.
⌛ Waiting-For List
Whether you do GTD or not, having a ‘Waiting For’ list is one of the single most valuable lists you can have.
Whenever I delegate an “Action” or “Project” and would like to track it, I add it to a “Waiting-For” list. Over time it grows into a list of all the actions that I’ve delegated and I’m waiting for them to get back to me.
To make this list useful I use the following format:
[Person-Name] Action I’m waiting-for [Date I’ve delegated]
Here’s what it looks like:
This list is largely the reason I was able to keep tabs on everything while reducing my stress at the same time. And people find it pretty impressive when you stay on top of work so well.
📝 Agenda List for People
This is my most frequently used list. As the name suggests, it’s a list of agenda points I want to discuss with a particular person.
At times there are new discussion points that come up and it’s not there in my waiting-for list. So for example, if I remember an important point I want to discuss with Arif, and I can’t speak to him now, I made a note of it in my Agenda list.
The next time I meet Arif, I will open up my Agenda list and see all the points I need to discuss with Arif.
I started with one Agenda list, but when I realized it was getting too long. Now I divide my lists into three: @Arif, @Dad, @Agenda.
Bonus tip: I also find it useful to have agenda lists for the regular meetings that I have.
🎯 Areas of Focus
Most of the time when we think of commitments, our minds go to actions, projects or goals. However, there’s another level of commitment that we all have. These are ongoing accountabilities that never get done.
For example “Maintaining good health”, “Being a good parent”. These are commitments we have, but it’s not something that can be checked off. It’s a standard that needs to be maintained.
Similarly, each member of your team has a set of ongoing accountabilities (including you!). But is it clear what they are? Do you know what you can expect from other members of your team?
When expectations are not explicit, it creates confusion and frustration. There may be things you “think” others should be doing, but they think it’s not their responsibility.
At Calm Achiever, we practice Holacracy and use Glassfrog to track each team member’s commitments. It looks like this:
By making the accountabilities of each team member clear in writing, it gives everyone clarity on what they can expect from each other. I know exactly who to go to when I need something.
We also have a governance process to update these accountabilities when things change.
If you’re interested to know more, please check out this webinar we recently hosted: How to structure your business to run itself.
📅 Tactical Meetings to Track Checklists, Metrics & Projects
Every team in Calm Achiever has a bi-weekly Tactical meeting. These meetings have been a game-changer for us. We did a webinar on this topic. Take a look here.
Let me get to the part that helps to keep track of commitments. We start every meeting by reviewing 3 things:
When a pilot flies a plane, they go through a checklist of items to ensure the flight is ready for takeoff. Similarly, this checklist surfaces useful information for the team to know whether it’s happening or not. Checklists are assigned to roles in the team, and the person filling the role has to call out whether it’s done or not. Here are some example of checklists
- Sufficient stock of our workshop material
- Completed quarterly requirements to maintain Trainer badge
These are key numbers we highlight to check the health of our team. Like checklists, the metric is assigned to a role, and the role filler has to report on the numbers. Knowing that they have to call our the metrics, reminds them of what they’re accountable for. Here are some of the metrics we track:
- Sales figures
- Number of workshops done
- Outstanding payments
- Number of blog posts published
In this step, we review if there have been any updates to the Projects since the last meeting. For example, the Webmaster role has a project “Launch new speaking page on website”. He would share the updates if any.
This helps everyone in the team to know what’s happening and keeps people accountable for their projects.
While reviewing, the facilitator of the meeting ensures the discussions are only limited to updates. This helps to keep the meeting moving fast. It usually doesn’t take more than 15 mins to review all the above, before we get into the agenda of the meeting.
👁🗨 Watch the Webinar
Delegation exists so you don’t have to waste hours on tasks that someone else can do better. Regardless of your skills or experience, trying to do everything by yourself will burn you out in no time.
Effectively assigning & tracking tasks to team members is a crucial part of a leader’s responsibilities. Savvy delegation is what makes a manager’s team run like a well-oiled machine.
With successful delegation, you can utilize the individual talents of everyone in your team. And when done right, your productivity will increase.
If you want to explore deeper on how to Master the Art of Delegation, check out our webinar.
Hi! I’m a Master Trainer in Getting Things Done (GTD) and a Holacracy Coach. I believe our work should be an expression of our most creative selves. I work with business owners and their teams to achieve stress-free productivity.