Do you DO what you say you’re going to DO?

One of the many complaints I hear from candidates is about their managers promising they will do a specific task for them, and then they don’t actually DO it.

‘They said they would do x … but it never happened.’

I also have personal experience with this, and it cost my business unit significant money at the time.

I had talked to my boss about hiring a new staff member; she said she would ‘sort it’ with head office. I went ahead with the recruitment only to find out when the staff member was hired, and the bill arrived that she did not recall saying that she would ‘sort it’. I was hauled over the coals by her for it. This happened again at different times, and eventually, I left the company, or probably more specifically, the manager, for not doing what she said she would DO.

Lesson Learnt: Documenting and cc’ing in writing is something I always suggest doing when it’s important, particularly when it involves “$”!

Make sure there is clarity around what you are asking someone to DO or what you, if you are a manager, are committing to do yourself.

How to avoid this situation again…

Internally: Here at mexec, we have started using Trello. It’s just one of the many tools that ensure we document the items we need to DO. It also keeps me accountable as I occasionally forget to whom I assigned a task. The more staff we hire, the less I want to rely on memory. 

Externally: Sue and I meet monthly with Emma from Marstr Consulting, who supports our marketing function. We meet to follow up on our itemised Trello lists outlining website updates and marketing plans for the month. It’s clear, it’s easy, and you can see the progression of multiple projects at once. What used to be 50+ emails back and forth is now captured on one Trello board with processes and objectives clearly defined.

Project Management – Another way to organise yourself.

Many of my clients are asking for further qualifications and formalised experience in Project Management. 

Wikipedia describes project management as:

Project management is the process of leading the work of a team to achieve all project goals within the given constraints. This information is usually described in project documentation, created at the beginning of the development process. The primary constraints are scope, time, and budget. The secondary challenge is to optimise the allocation of necessary inputs and apply them to meet pre-defined objectives.

There are many courses available, and formalised training is sought after by many of my clients.

You may have managed projects in your PhD or work; however, qualifications or experience in using project management tools is also now desirable to employers.

It’s accountability, it’s documentation, it’s managing a process, and, importantly, it’s a collaboration tool so that all the tasks that need to be done are done on time and by the right people. Whether it be a weekly list or a complex drug development program, formalisation of Project Management is required.

Praxis and ARCS both run programs for the clinical research sector, but there are other, more complex training programs out there as well. Google has many available; however, we are gradually building up a list of programs that seem of interest in the industry – reach out to [email protected] if you would like a copy of our latest list.

When it comes to an interview, you may be asked…

One of the questions that I, and many employers, always ask at interviews is, “How DO you organise yourself?

Outlook, diaries, OneNote, and I still occasionally use a to-do list on paper for day-to-day tasks. However, sharing a Trello board has been great for keeping track of things. Teams has also been a valuable tool for our business.

Recently, I found a link in the Links of Interest section describing the Stack method for Outlook. I have just started using it, and it works very well for me. I’ll be interested to see how it goes. I currently have only four emails in my inbox; the rest have been filed into about six folders. As you will note, one is called DO – as per the title of this musing, and highlighted throughout this chat, this is the most important folder.

I also have a philosophy that I learnt in my early sales days ‘if a task may hold up someone else doing their job, DO that first.” Priorities. I hope that some of these tools will help you DO what you say you are going to DO.

Stack Method – Marilyn’s Current folders:

My list of folders is:

DOThis is today’s priority
Review TodayHas to be done today, but not as urgent as above
ReviewNon-Urgent – Can be done in the next few weeks
ForwardTo who is appropriate
DoneDifferent to Archive. I archive or delete as I go. This is more for the above tasks that I want to file that I know I have done

You can have different folders, but less is more. It breaks down the priorities, and I am loving it so far. Time will tell if it’s still working for me, but I found that with 100 emails in my inbox, I kept having to go back to and review each hour to work out what was a priority, which was not working for me. Putting them in each folder as they come in has helped me organise my priorities, and I also hope it will help me DO what I say I am going to DO.

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