I know all about lists. I am the queen of lists. I start my day, every day, with a list. At its worst, there may even be lists about lists. When I need to switch gears between the mundane operational stuff or administrivia and the real thinking work, I find that starting my day, planning what I need to achieve helps to get me focused on the right things. Because it is so very easy to get derailed. Someone comes over with a problem that somehow only you can fix. Someone else screams blue murder about a malfunction or crisis and pretty soon, you are putting out other people’s fires. Add 300 emails to go through and all those phone calls, and you have to question whether you got anything done. You might have been busy but it would take a lot of honesty to call a spade a spade here. I find though that lists like many other things, are merely a tool. They help you achieve what you set out to achieve. It works for some, but maybe not for all. Some don’t like the rigour or the minutae.The thing is to pick something that works for you. As a tool, it helps you but the goal is not in the performance of the function. Making the list in itself is not what it’s about. The point about lists – prioritisation. Having a think early in the day about what it is that you want to achieve. Setting a goal. Being clear about what’s important and what is not. Deciding what needs to wait till tomorrow. And then you go out and make it happen. Scan it at midday just to see how you are going. It keeps you in check and refocuses you if you have strayed. I think it gets you one step closer to execution. Not to be confused with Tip 3 – Focus on results, not process. That is all about the end, not how we got there. This is about making sure you get there. Planning to get there is not enough. Agreeing that you will get there is not enough. Telling people that you will get there is not enough. You need to get there.
10 Tip Series for HR. Tip#6. List-making and Execution…as opposed to Planning