August 2016

Make Your Plans Bulletproof

By | 2016-08-22T18:32:47+00:00 22 August 2016|Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , |

This week at work, bulletproof your ideas.

If you’ve got a new idea, a plan, a program; find people you trust who can poke holes in it for you. Not someone who is going to agree with you, nor someone who will simply be combative. Get someone to provide instructive criticism.

The Starbucks marketing team used to practice this all the time. Often to implement an idea would require efforts from the Operations team, the Supply Chain team, the Creative team, the Legal team, the Customer Care team and others. So, instead of declaring or demanding, “This is our idea, now do it!” We would check with each group who had some stake in the program – see how we could make it better for them without diluting the program.

This worked swimmingly.

We got great feedback, fixed things before they broke, and had built-in buy-in from the various teams. We didn’t have to sell or pitch them on the idea – they were part of building it.

Do First Things First

By | 2016-08-08T15:04:13+00:00 8 August 2016|Categories: TWAW|Tags: , , |

Where to start, huh?

No matter what system you use to plan your activities – paper or digital – sometimes it can be difficult to determine what to do first. Especially since *all* of it is important, right?

I’ve tried lots of approaches over the years, the ABC/123 method combined with a prioritizer tool has worked the best.

ABC/123 Approach

This was taught as part of the Franklin planner system, later the FranklinCovey system, which is still around.

Basically, you rank everything you need to do with either an A, B, C.

  • A = Must do,
  • B = Should do, and
  • C = Could do.

The next step is to take all of the “A” activities and number them 1, 2, 3, etc. with 1 being the most important. You could do this for the lists of B and C items as well.

ABC_TasksI know. I know. It is nice to have items ranked by urgency, but… you’re still stuck trying to determine what is #1 or #2?

That used to happen to me as well. So, I had someone develop code for an online Prioritizer tool. It takes the list you type in and presents you with only two items at a time. You select which of this is more important. It continues to present pairs of items until you’ve ranked them all.

I love it. You will too. Over the years I’ve received letters of “thank you” for making this available.

Using The Prioritizer

To use the Prioritizer, type in all the items in your A-list. (Use “tab” to move from one cell to the next… it works best that way). You’ll hit “Next” at the bottom when you’re done entering.

Next, the Prioritizer will pair up and present items from your list, prompting you to pick which of the two items is most important. It is so much easier to prioritize when you only focus on two things at a time and eliminate the noise of all the other tasks.

choiceWhen you’re done choosing, voila the Prioritizer gives you a prioritized list you may print.

prioritizerSave the Idea Sandbox Prioritizer as a bookmark in your browser. It works smartphones and tablets as well.

ABC_123_TasksSometimes I find myself mid-week, after finishing tasks and projects given new things to work on. I will simply visit the Prioritizer and re-working my list.

Let me know how it works for you. I hope you love it and spend the upcoming weeks and months working on first things first.