If you are a team leader or a project manager, one of your key (though often implicit) responsibilities is to remove barriers to productivity and success. Or at the very least, you shouldn’t be putting those barriers up! Stephanie Vozza writes about nine practices (The Nine Levels of Work Hell) that lead to ineffective work processes and disengagement, frustration, and sub-par performance. The best part of the article? The tips on how to not do that, which can really be summarized into four approaches:
Spreadsheets and presentations are not an emergency, but you wouldn’t know it from the pace of many of today’s corporate offices. Quality products require forethought and dedicated resources. To avoid the frantic rush approach:
Managing knowledge and information is quickly becoming an ever-increasing challenge. When you don’t know what you don’t know, you make poor decisions, you duplicate others’ efforts, and you fail to gain alignment.
As a kid, have you ever played the game of “telephone?” Kids line up, and at one end, a sentence is whispered. That message is relayed from person to person to person, until it gets to the end of the line, where it ends up unrecognizable, often taking a comical turn.
Many organizations do exactly that. When an executive has an idea and shares it with his team, and the potential project then gets passed down or across the organizational hierarchy through several people, gets delegated, and finally ends up on an individual contributor's or project manager's desk, the original intent of the initiative is often lost.
As a result, work occurs in the wrong direction, gets redone by others, and talented people who are doing good work end up experiencing failure.
Those doing the work need to be connected to those requesting the work.
Emails, texts, messages, meetings, phone calls, questions, and interruptions are not real work. They are distractions from real work. To do real work that has real impact, you and your team must be able to turn these things off.