All of us know the story about Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. Just to re cap ...
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it.
Everybody was sure Somebody would do it.
Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job.
It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when actually Nobody asked Anybody.
This is the age old recipe for the work not getting done !
I have experienced many meetings where significant decisions were taken and there were several to-do's listed out. All of us nodded our agreement to do these, but finally it was not done . The sole reason for this was that there was no designated "Owner" for the tasks.
- Against each line item of to-do's , put a name. This is the owner of the task. Being an owner does not mean that s/he is supposed to DO the task. Her responsibility is to see that the work is completed. She can create a group or delegate the work, but finally, she is answerable if the task is not done
- Even if you put a name, be sure it will stretch endlessly if there is no planned completion date. Insist on an end date . Reassure the owner that the date can be modified in case there are any hurdles in the job.
- If the above two points are there and you do not have any means of tracking the items, again, you will not be sure that the task list will see the light of the day. Create a regular mechanism to track the list . It is not necessary that you would have to meet , but emails, phone calls etc can be simple mechanisms for tracking. What works best for me when there are multiple tasks and owners, after tracking, consolidation of the progress of the item and sending the update to all the stake holders - including the owners.
The above points makes everybody focused on the tasks. Tasks get done because ownership is given to one person. S/he feels responsible, important and answerable and usually the work gets completed successfully.
What do you think ? Any more tips from your experience?