I love the energy that is generated when a team gets together to plan for the future.
At such times, team members are functioning from their creative sides and are excited at the prospect of implementing something new or something better.
However, it has often has been my experience that by the time the next monthly staff meeting comes around, nothing much has been done to implement the new process or the change.
Much like individuals, if effective structures and support are not established around achieving goals and improvements, a business can suffer failure through procrastination.
Procrastination is avoidance: avoidance of exerting energy in the short term. We opt for things that provide more immediate satisfaction, such as chat to a fellow staff member or complete less challenging, basic tasks, tasks that do not require much brain matter.
To minimise procrastination in your practice, I suggest you follow these steps:
COMPELLING LONG TERM GOAL
Once the end-goal has been determined, and the changes needed to get there, think of ways to maintain a high energy around it. We talk in our JPPS modules about the 3 Step Process of bringing life to areas of focus:
- Talk it up – bring it in to your team discussions.
- Live it – lead by example. Show the team how you are implementing the change.
- Acknowledge others’ engagement. Reward behaviours you want repeated that are assisting the implementation of the changes.
Remember that one of our intrinsic motivators as human beings is to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Make the goal compelling and meaningful.
CLARIFICATION OF PROCESS
Many times, a new process fails due to a lack of clarity around what is expected of each individual team member. Determine the specifics of what is required (who, what, when, where, why) for the team to be aware what is expected of them to accomplish this goal.
Accountability encourages people to take action. Team members who clearly know they are accountable will be much more likely to apply the new process as each opportunity arises.
The person who leads the team fulfills his or her accountability to the process by regularly discussing how each of them is progressing, and supporting them in overcoming obstacles.
Follow up is vital in the initial stages of any new process or system. At the start, implementation requires more energy. However, over time, less energy is needed as implementation becomes subconscious and automatic.
Staff meetings provide the best format to both develop new systems, and follow up on their implementation. Every staff meeting should start with addressing the ‘To Do’ list from the previous meeting to gauge progress and build the desire for ultimate success.
If progress is not seen and felt, enthusiasm can wither on the vine.
Failure through procrastination is easy and seductive. Almost everyone is an expert in procrastination. Avoiding procrastination, however, is simple: look at Nike and Just Do It!