TubbTalk 153: The Godfather Of Modern Productivity: How To Leverage GTD For Teams - Tubblog: The Hub for MSPs

TubbTalk 153: The Godfather Of Modern Productivity: How To Leverage GTD For Teams

TubbTalk 153: The Godfather Of Modern Productivity: How To Leverage GTD For Teams image

David Allen is the author of Getting Things Done, the best selling book that spawned the GTD movement, which is now a part of daily life for millions of people all over the world.

I personally refer to David as the godfather of modern productivity, and he’s got over 40 years’ experience as a management consultant and executive coach.

They have earned him the titles of personal productivity guru by Fast Company and one of the top five executive coaches by Forbes Magazine.

An Interview With David Allen

David’s New Book: Team: Getting Things Done with Others

While thousands of business owners now use GTD in their everyday lives, their colleagues don’t. David explains: “It can be frustrating, because they see how it would benefit them. And so often, they’re surrounded by dysfunction in the workplace.

“So what happens is they use their own productivity tools to mitigate that. There was clearly a need for a GTD for teams book, but it was a challenge. Because teams are unique in what they do, the people in them and the experiences they bring.”

David decided to co-author the book with Ed Lamont, who is the UK partner for GTD. He has worked extensively with senior teams globally to train them in the tool.

With Ed’s experience, they identified five steps to gain control and six horizons of commitment and applied those to a team setting. Then, they expanded on planning and implementation models for a team setting.

The Tools David Recommends for GTD Enthusiasts

The beauty of GTD is that it doesn’t require specialist tools. What is important is that you’ll stick to using it. As David says: “Many high-tech people have gone back to paper planners. Because it can sometimes be frustrating and distracting to use a digital tool.

“And for me, I keep my head empty by using pen and paper. No batteries or wifi required. But that’s not my organisational system. For that, I use Microsoft Office to collect and collate everything.”

It’s designed to be flexible, so each individual user can experiment with tools to see what works for them. Consistency is what matters, and having a simple-to-use strategy to get things done.

How GTD Works in Teams

Before doing anything else, the managers need to look at how the teams work together. “How do we communicate? What are our meetings like? How clear are we on who needs to attend a meeting?

“So in the book, Ed and I describe these as symptoms of dysfunction. We dig into the simple mechanics that you can fix now so your team can do bigger and better things. And that allows you to address the cause of the problems.

“For instance, we coached a financial management company. Once they understood GTD, they implemented a rule around meeting attendance. If an employee was invited but didn’t know why, they didn’t have to go. Too many meetings exhaust teams and distracts them from their actual work.”

How can #MSP owners make their teams more productive? @gtdguy explains how to use the Getting Things Done method with your staff. Click to Tweet

How the Getting Things Done Model Improves Team Productivity

Regardless of your industry, team members have to be able to engage with each other and communicate clearly. Because the goal of any business is to deliver a quality product or service to satisfied customers.

Often, David says, big companies focus on how to improve workflow efficiency and cut waste, such as the Toyota Production System. “But they don’t always address ‘mental no waste.’ A friend of mine once described GTD as ‘lean for the brain.’

“And what that means in practice is that it enables staff to clear their mind after a meeting or a busy day. They need a methodology to process what they’ve heard and done. It makes them less reactive and more mindful, and therefore more productive.”

How to Overcome Decision Fatigue

Even with the GTD tools, decision fatigue is unavoidable. So David will take time out as soon as he can. “Either I do nothing and have a nap, or I meditate or have a drink. Or both together.

“And when I know I need a rest, I have one. Your brain has to archive the complexity it deals with every day. You might need to sleep more at night. Or just sit in a darkened room and relax.

“When you do that it brings a sense of release or relief. Over both the mental process and the decision making process. And that is absolutely critical. Give yourself permission to stop and turn off the monkey mind.”

Common GTD Implementation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

First, David says, people don’t really capture everything. “So they still use their head to remember and remind them of things. And they have some stuff captured, but they don’t trust it either. Because neither one is complete.

“And then it becomes too much trouble to write stuff down, so they stop. But then it backs up in their head. Second, they create a list but don’t clarify and organise what’s on their list.

“They have lists everywhere and then their head fills up again. Third, people get inspired and create a system. But they don’t review and reflect and the information they store is no longer current. Again, they don’t trust it and the habit fails.”

How to Connect With David Allen

How to Connect With Me

Mentioned in This Episode

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RICHARD TUBB

Richard Tubb is one of the best-known experts within the global IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) community. He launched and sold his own MSP business before creating a leading MSP media and consultancy practice. Richard helps IT business owner’s take back control by freeing up their time and building a business that can run without them. He’s the author of the book “The IT Business Owner’s Survival Guide” and writer of the award-winning blog www.tubblog.co.uk

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