Many of us use a to-do list to manage the work for ourselves and others. Often we use the list as a gauge for performance.
There are negative ripple effects with using a to-do list to gauge performance. When you focus on checking action items off a list, you send a message that completion trumps quality. People would forward poor quality work as ‘complete’, and we know well the frustrations that would be triggered. This affects morale and collaboration internally. To the external customers, the negative effects would transpire in the form scanty responses and poor service.
As leaders, we need to move away from measuring task completion. Focus on results instead. When you do that, you essentially ask your team to do two things.
- First, put more thoughts into the approach. As there are many ways to accomplish the same results, thoughtful consideration helps to improve decisions around the choice of action.
- Second, filter unnecessary work. When you pose the question, “will this work contribute to success?” your team applies a better filter to reject irrelevant tasks. This frees up time to focus on the more impactful work.
This shift in mindset is an effective productivity improvement also.