My company provides Store Performance Systems to help companies get better results with less effort. Our culture calls for us to work the same way we recommend to our clients to work. I changed roles when I joined this company and I had to not only learn a new industry but also a new role. Despite a strong desire for the change, I found there were some things preventing me from getting stuff done. I was struggling to meet certain goals. I learned a few things over the past few months. Change for me came down to some key elements:
- Simplifying and repeating certain behaviors
- Attitude towards change
- Keeping track of my work
It sounds straight forward, and I have a written process, but there’s a lot of STUFF that gets in the way.
Things Preventing Me From Getting Stuff Done
Mindset. We also call it head stuff – a lot of habits and tendencies don’t go away overnight. They need to be managed well, personally by me and ideally with an accountability partner.
I’ve had some tough conversations with my business partner about professional development, meeting milestones, hitting certain goals, etcetera. He’s my accountability partner, so we frequently review what I’m doing to meet these goals. We assess where I’m failing or not following through and focus on how that affects me personally. These are milestones I set based on career development and – importantly – they are aligned with the company goals. This isn’t just accountability in my company role, it’s long term professional accountability.
Buying into the Process
During one of our reviews we discussed obstacles by asking the question “What are all the things that are getting in the way accomplishing one of my critical goals?” For example, I had a specific goal for the week. We sat down and looked at every activity not related to meeting the goal. What can we remove from that list? What does that look like? We were getting to the bare bones of “what actions do I need to do, how much, and what’s stopping me?”
Simple and Organized
That week it came down to creating an organized, simple list of actions, and opting out of certain meetings that weren’t important to personal or company goals. I may not be able to take away all activities every week, but how can I turn this planning into a process that’s sustainable and repeatable? Better yet, is the template good enough to be useful to someone else?
Here are a few takeaways that help me get on track and start doing the things that I needed to do
Start of the Day Plan
I have a start of the day plan. For me it’s a daily repeated calendar event of things I want to reference or keep at the top of my head, including goals for the month or week. Not just company goals, but the personal goals I set. I’ll even include certain attitudes and behaviors of to strive for a certain mindset.
I want to be more: insert adjective. For example: I want to be more focused I want to be more discerning I want to be more tough. Those are real things I’ve written down. It’s a bit of a mind trick. Sometimes it seems strange to write down attitudes, but there are times it has kept me on track for the day.
So, what are all the important things that I need to review each morning?
I lay out the important things that need to get done and either mark them off as I go or use them for staying on track. The cleanest example of this in my world is when I have a backlog of people I need to call. If I have a list of all the people there in front of me, contact info, the reason I’m calling them back, what we talked about before, it starts to take away reasons not to just call. No searching for their number or remembering what was discussed. Keep it simple and clear so I can just Do the action. Even on days when I do not feel like picking up the phone, if I have everything in place, it makes it so much easier to just do it. I find that I’m less stressed knowing that I’ve contributed to my own goals, which, yes, are aligned with company goals. Also, when I keep a record of this, the meetings with my partner become more factual and to the point. They are also shorter and oriented towards higher level problem-solving.
Focus on High Value Work
Systemizing the work helps me to focus on the more interesting work, brainstorming new ideas, or having more free time.
Simple not Easy
Working these steps into my day wasn’t easy. Our DevOps team uses a similar system. They even score themselves, measuring how they do daily and review every morning. We’ve created these systems for ourselves and developing them and sticking with it took a lot of effort, some difficult conversations, and buy-in from everyone.
We still work on ways to improve, but it has become more routine, takes less time, and is an important operational function. The results are improvement or knowing why something was missed.
When motivation is aligned expectations are clear, and behavior is simplified, the pain of change is temporary, manageable, and worth it.
For more information on C-Store Performance – Accountability
You may also want to read about our blog on Five Minute C-Store Expectations Plan?
Here is an article based on research of change from Harvard Health Publishing.