During a conversation with a client who was in the tricky situation of having to distribute important knowledge and information to several recently hired employees in a short amount of time a few weeks ago, we discovered that one of the coworkers had created a number of cheat sheets and guides a while back which in a simple and pedagogical way explained everything the newcomers needed to learn.
The cheat sheets were not actively used though, but had been left and forgotten in a folder waiting to be ”distributed” and sent to the rest of the office.
That last, final push
This phenomena is more common than you would think. We create something that simplifies things or refine a routine somehow, but then halt our progress just before ”distributing” it or sending it to the others that need the material. It stays in the folder or drawer, and we forget about it. The reason might be that even if we are experts at the process the routine described, we aren’t great at getting the new and improved routine ”out there” - the final piece that is quite crucial if our change or effort is to have any effect at all. We might also be short of time, and the time we had set aside to simplify the process or routine was spent doing just that.
And when we were done and about to ”get it out there”, send it to the rest of the office or distribute some other way, something unforeseen happened that we needed to focus on instead. Or perhaps we are so focused on finding a solution to the complicated task before us that once we have, we take a deep breath, let it go and forget all about it - thus also forgetting to make it available to others in need of our solution.
Sort out the separate steps
Regardless the reason why we fail to publish or make it available, we can help ourselves do better next time by defining what ”getting it out there” really means. Do we need to ask someone for something, send something, write something, publish something in a specific location - or something else?
If you are currently working on something that needs to be made available to others at some point, ask yourself right now:
- Who will you make it available for? Just yourself? Your colleagues? Anyone else?
- How will you reach them (or yourself, if you are your own target audience)? Via a meeting, with a note, an article in the intranet, via a shortcut placed in the right spot, or some other way?
- What to-do-tasks (using just one verb for every task) do you need to complete in order to get what you have created ”out there”? Add these to your to-do-list and consider yourself one step closer to having made a difference by creating the material, simplifying the process or documenting the routine.
It will now have the desired effect
If you concretize the final steps for distribution in the process of creating a material, chances are that your efforts will have the desired effect to a much greater extent. The risk of wasting time and brilliant ideas, which you otherwise might have when forgetting about what you have developed and move on to new projects, decreases.
What’s your way?
How do you make sure that the improvements and simplifications you have made are implemented? As you might know, old habits die hard, so any tips are welcome in th comment-section below.