Woohoo! This week we have a FREE (everyone loves free!) and EASY (we love easy too, don’t we?) tool that focuses on getting more results and making those results visible. In case you are joining the blog for the first time, welcome! We are so glad you are here! Wednesday’s are dedicated to providing you with tools and information concerning happiness at work. If you want more information on what I mean by that, check out last week’s post where we define it more clearly. Otherwise, just know, Happiness at Work = Relationships + Results.
Introducing the Who, What, When aka WWW. This tool is very near and dear to my heart. I wish I could take credit for inventing it, I cannot. The credit goes to great business guru of growth companies, Verne Harnish. Verne’s books, The Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up have greatly influenced my work habits, how I lead and in turn, what I teach my clients. Verne knows his stuff and has lots of complimentary tools available on his site at www.gazelles.com. The WWW goes hand in hand with workplace happiness because it allows us to know what we are supposed to be working on to make a difference and then we get to check our accomplishments publicly, creating opportunity for praise and encouragement.
Here’s a rundown of how and when to use the WWW along with some tips and tricks, should you choose to implement it.
The WWW can be used in a number of meeting situations. This includes team meetings, 1 to 1 meetings, project teams and even with vendors you have to manage closely. As of lately, many of the teams I work with use this format in a shared document setup, so it’s live file that lives and breathes. Some teams still prefer the traditional paper format, that’s okay too. Often I’m asked, what is the best way? My reply, whichever is meaningful and effective to your team, that method the “best”!
After opening the meeting, (I recommend to open all meetings with a word of good news) you can begin with the WWW and cover what has been completed. If the task has not been done, briefly discuss where the person may be stuck and get their commitment on when they can complete the assignment. If tasks have been completed, place a check mark next to the far left or right column or use the strikethrough feature. I recommend this over deleting the item because it’s a great way to visibly record all the progress and results that are being accomplished. It’s simply amazing how quickly we forget, this simple approach combats that. As you progress through your meeting agenda (please tell me you have an agenda!) you can add to the WWW as action items come up.
Now, let’s have a closer look at the columns and how to use the effectively.
Who Column – It is important that only 1 person is noted. Often, we want to team tackle things but the fact is, when everyone is responsible, no one is responsible. Then it becomes a finger pointing match and talk (or worse, an argument) about who was supposed to do it and why it didn’t get done.
Also, when assigning, be cautious as to not assign too many things to someone. I once worked on a team where we did not leave the meeting with more than 3 items for a single person. It was a relief, we walked away feeling confident that we could go out and accomplish what we set out to do.
What Column – this entry in this column that many of us think is obvious, what is the action. Yes, it is obvious but in practice, it can be a challenge to nail down. My recommendation, get specific, keep it bite sized and manageable. The notes in this column need to be easily understood by everyone involved. There should be no confusion on what the expectation is. Allow people to make adjustments to what is entered so they are clear and can reflect back to the sheet and take action.
When Column – the date should be realistic in nature, especially considering all of the other tasks/responsibilities the person has to complete. Often, it’s the date of the next meeting, but it does not have to be. If the date is too far out, the owner may not take action. Consider breaking down the action item into a smaller step to get to a due date that is earlier.
I encourage you to introduce the concept of this tool to your teams and see what they have to say, work together with them to find the best way to implement it with their needs in mind. And, you don’t have to be the manager or leader to do so. Leading doesn’t require the title, it requires the bravery and action (and a few other things but that’s another conversation).
Once you get into the habit of using the WWW, you will find people are happier! They know where to focus, they are getting things done and they are proud to report back to everyone on their accomplishments. People are encouraging one another and thanking them for a job well done. It’s just awesome!
Feeling like you need a little more help? That’s totally understandable, sometime the extra attention and coaching gives people just what they need to take action. Reach out! We would love to talk to you, contact us today!
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