The steps your team makes towards completing tasks is essential to success. If there is no process, no pipeline, those customers do not automatically line themselves up, the quarterly reports don’t magically appear overnight and the inventory doesn’t restock itself. Living in farm country, I can tell you those fields don’t plant themselves. As a manager it’s often difficult to find the line between micro-managing and trusting your team to drive their own work. As a result, even when a process is well documented, I really value when my staff overlays their own method to get it done and updates me and others on their progress.
Case in point. At my favorite Inn there is a gardener named Hans. Now he wasn’t always a gardener, he cut his teeth in sales. Successful in high pressure occupations, land development, specialty sports equipment and restaurant management, he is sharp as a tack. Now he toils daily to make the world a little prettier, to make people a little happier. It’s brutal work, but he has a system that is worth paying attention to. I call it the Hans Pile.
1. Blaze a Trail
The breadcrumb theory of management is well documented. We all know leaving a trail of completed work is paramount to teamwork. At the very least it lets people know you showed up and are on the case. Now-a-days with the business cycle in overdrive and remote workers being a standard; everyone is too busy to notice what’s going on until there is an issue. And there always is an issue. This makes it more critical than ever to let others know what you are doing. Accountants have made a whole profession out of it, tracking what actually happened after it happens. When you create a trail of what you have accomplished it quickly becomes apparent that there is work in progress. One pile or item is not a trail, it’s sloppy and lazy. Several little piles demonstrate routine, strategy, process and dedication. Yes all of that with just a few piles.
2. Make it Simple
Steve Jobs said it best:
That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.
Boiling it down to it’s essence means you really know it. Once you really know it, what comes next is no longer a question, its a certainty. This allows you to make it happen. Stay calm and move mountains. Read about how to be Zen in an Annoying World in 3 Simple Steps.
3. Move the Mountains
Figure out your best routine and stick to it. Most processes regardless if it’s harvesting a field, rebooting a website, or pulling off a product launch require multiple steps. The piles give you a view to see what you have accomplished. These completed piles line-up where you need to go next. The piles are a reminder that Rome wasn’t built in a day and serve as resting points to see how much you have accomplished.
Because of your routine, you will be a better contributor. After you have taken the final step and completed the project all anyone can see from the outside is the great work you did.
Be proud of where you have been. See the movement of where you are headed and that you will complete what you set out to do. Get ready to see the finished product. Remember that the piles created throughout the process, although no longer visible, leave an indelible mark that make all the difference. Build your garden and let it flourish.