Good gravy, when will they EVER stop moving so quickly and just FOCUS and finish SOMETHING!!!!????
Bouncing from one project to the next, causing me to react to what’s coming at me, and wondering what I accomplished at the end of the day is the “norm” around here. We hear this no less that A MILLION times a week for support team. They think it’s a personality disorder unique to their attorney. But it is not.
It’s a “Quick Start” thing. Quick Start is a Kolbe mode of instinctive operation. Learn more at (Kolbe.com.) The Quick Start type of person tends to jump in and experiment without pre-determining a methodology (the “instinct to innovate”). Often the Quick Start type is described as being distracted by the next bright, shiny object. Here we will discuss how to be more effective as a Quick Start and to still allow yourself the freedom to chase the shiny object without wrecking your productivity.
Often as a Quick Start we find ourselves being drawn to the more creative tasks that spark our juices versus the more follow-through type of tasks. We love to jump in and problem solve. We thrive on innovation and creation. What’s wrong with that you ask? The challenge lies in the ever-growing to-do list that remains endlessly half-finished. Because Quick Starts in the office tend to cause a lot of chaos by their tendency to re-create, make last-minute changes, avoid what they are “supposed” to be doing and create a whole new “thing” that appears to come out of left field. They can be the source of office frustration. However, there would be no business if there wasn’t a Quick Start at the helm. The value a Quick Start brings to a team and business it essential. Often this is the person who will jump into an unknown situation to problem solve and to innovate when all the facts are available but action is needed, often quick action. This is vital in a small business.
So here’s Four guaranteed (quick, must be quick and bottom-line with a QS) “Productivity Practices” for a Quick Start:
1. Tackle the to-dos first. Give yourself a tight timeline. And reward your completion. The to-dos are often where Quick Starts really drop the ball, and where they are almost always least efficient. Use your innate need to work against a deadline. Give yourself a short time frame and tackle your to-dos first. Then you can move on to the more creative, fun work as a treat, dessert if you will. Sit down to make follow-up calls first thing in the morning, with one cup of coffee and that’s it. Make a game out of it and do not allow yourself to get up for a refill, a snack, to go to the bathroom, or for ANY reason until all calls are done. It seems silly, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly you blow through your call list & the energy shoot you gain from it. The rest of your day you will show up like a rock star everywhere you go. The same technique works on any task you find mundane that just requires you to sit down and plug through it. Scanning in receipts and filling out expense reports -torture! Again, sit down with one cup of coffee, shut down the cell phone, email, Facebook, or any form of fun distraction. Set the timer for 45 minutes and you will be amazed what you get accomplished in 45 minutes. Then move on to the more fun projects where my value is truly needed.
2. Ask your team to hold you accountable: There is no better way to keep people on task. Quick Starts don’t avoid follow-up and to-dos because they don’t care. It’s just where we struggle to stay focused. So use the accountability your team can provide to hold yourself to task. My team always knew that the first hour of my day was “follow-up call time.” If I did happen to get up to sneak a second cup of coffee, my team would catch me. “Did you finish your calls?” We made a game out of it and it worked.
3. Touch it once: This is a great tip for everyone, but in particular for a Quick Start whose challenge will be focusing on that follow-up. Schedule 1 hour a week in your calendar for “Touch it once” time, preferably at the end of the week so you can walk into the weekend with energy and accomplishment. All things that require you to communicate information, send things, review things once and be done with them. Pick up the phone and resolve things, versus emailing and having to touch something three or four times. We highly recommend you have your Key team member sit with you during this time for delegation, clarity and accountability. If you find something that you find is more than a “Touch it Once”, put it in a pile with a sticky note that says “Possible Project” and move on to the next or else it will immediately hit a roadblock if you stay on something that requires other people and multiple touches. Just label it and move on. Each week you do this you will become more effective than the last and begin to look forward to this time (and your team member will love it as well).
4. Plan your production time: Schedule time each week to tackle bigger production projects versus quick follow-up. Plan specifically what you will work on and complete during that time so you can anchor to it. Otherwise, you will find it harder to stay on task and not be distracted by a more creative, interesting project. An email with an interesting article or a team member asking you a quick question or to review something will blow up the entire production time. Have an agenda and stick to it.
A Quick Start brings insurmountable valuable to a team, but we have to be conscious of the chaos we can cause and be responsible for it. Quick Starts are often surrounded by more Fact Finder/Follow Thru people to balance them out, but that also means they approach things completely differently. What makes sense to you can cause a lot of upset for them. Be respectful of each other’s instinctive methods of approaching situations and use them wisely instead of fighting them.
These four techniques will relief reduce stress, conflict and overwhelm in the office which will ultimately create more room for you to get to the fun, creative stuff in a responsible way.
A great way to build your team is with a balance of Kolbe types while minding that they aren’t all so averse to each other that they can’t communicate. If you are hiring and need support in making sure you are hiring the right Kolbe for your role, contact us to discuss The Smart Hire Solution Process™.
Champions of your continued success,
Laney and Molly
P.S. We want to hear how you do with these simple techniques, drop us a line after you’ve tried and share your success with us! firstname.lastname@example.org
By Molly Hall