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Making it Happen

Aug 17, 2007
How frustrating is it when things progress slowly?

When you end up coming back to people and they haven't got on with things like you expected.

And sometimes it seems to be the same people who you have this problem with.

'Making it Happen' is a simple tactic to ensure that progress on a topic is made clearly, quickly and precisely.

Ken Blanchard has a great little (and as always, easy to read) book called 'The One Minute Manager meets the Monkey'. This is all about the 'monkey'.

By ensuring that there is always a 'next step' in any discussion, issue or problem, which is clearly defined, owned by someone and timescaled, you will be much more likely to have progression.

So what is this 'next step' and how does a monkey fit into all this?

Well, the 'next step' is some actual piece of activity that someone (and it is best if it isn't you! I'll come on to that later), takes accountability for delivering, demonstrably and in a certain timescale.

If you've come across SMART objectives, it's along those lines and very tactical. It happens and happens fast - usually.

This 'next step' in a process, means that things keep moving and someone is signed up to the progress by doing the next link towards the final outcome. Think of it as a monkey jumping from each person's shoulder to the next. The 'doer' takes the monkey with them - and you ensure that it isn't usually you!

By keeping this as the goal, step by relevant next step, the overall outcome is achieved.

Who is the 'doer'? Well, that depends on who is best placed to do the doing! In developmental management and team cultures, as many individuals as possible get involved in taking the 'next step' (carrying off the monkey!).

Whilst it is easy for a manager to take the brunt of these, it is very useful to help others take these 'next steps, even if they are not experts in that area of their work.

Using 'next steps' as a developmental exercise can be very valuable for individuals who want to stretch their experience and develop their capabilities.

Without just 'dropping them in it', by providing ongoing support, whilst giving them the accountability to deliver (a strong learning in itself), a manager can evolve a highly skilled and broadly experienced team around who will enable continuity when times get tough.

And a succession planning process which evolves without too much effort.

Things get done, people get developed, the manager delegates effectively, making the best of his or her time.

Now how great a solution is that then!
About the Author
2005-6 Martin Haworth is a Business and Management Coach. He has hundreds of hints, tips and ideas at his website, www.coaching-businesses-to-success.com
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