DnA - Executive Transformation Network

I often hear people say that they are busy and have a lot on their plate. Actions are not moving or are pending answers from others. People are not responding to messages. Items are not moving. There is a lack of support. What’s your excuse?

There are many reasons why people are not responding or why projects and activities are not moving. Why is there no focus on the things that matter and why do we not get longer term initiatives moving? Priorities and idea’s are not always set at the right level. The attention or understanding of the issue, is not always clear to the person on the receiving end. Your sense of urgency may not be theirs!

I sometimes wonder if people can be productive, if they do not communicate and follow up. The world of emails is cluttering the day. In my case on some day’s I receive hundreds of mail in the cc. Honestly, I do not read those anymore. The mails addressed to me I scan for importance and I react whenever is required, The “cc” mails I only read, when someone emphasizes the necessity.  #BEFOCUSSED .

It’s imperative that half of them are spam, a quarter is shifting ownership of a problem, and a quarter resolves itself after extensive mail strings. Mail communication has seldom made me more productive. In fact it resulted in a quite extensive resolution time and often an impossible management of effective time. Even misinterpretation of intentions has been experienced. This behavior is very unproductive and does not result on a focus to get stuff moving. I have some tips which will help you be more effective and collaborative in your day to day.

Use mail as confirmation of next steps, not as tool to shift responsibility #EFFECTIVEBYNATURE

Making progression in your projects/deliverables require good alignment on next steps with your stakeholders. Getting the team on the phone and making sure you schedule the next meeting as follow up with clear actions and owners, will help drive results and solution to your problem. At the end of the day I’m probably not the only one who receives a lot of mails, so focus in what matters. Not what others dump in your mailbox.

Use direct communication methods which focus on #CO-OWNERSHIP.

Sending a mail and expecting your done is not very productive. Your customers e.g. business partners will have to react over and forth. I’m not saying that sending the mail is not a good way of communicating, but when this need more then 2 replies, pick up the phone, start a chat and start a dialogue. You will see that when aligning on the common objective, setting a time line, respecting each others agenda and priorities, you will achieve more together.

Make sure you end meetings with actions, owners and next steps, and make sure you schedule the next meeting before you end the call or meeting….#STRUCTURE

It’s imperative that having meetings to have meetings on itself is not very productive. Make sure your meeting has a clear agenda, you keep focussed on the topic and not add new stuff which was not part of the meeting objectives. You will see that all the extra stuff clutters the result of your meeting. Better add them to the list and get someone to prepare the new item for next meeting so you keep focussed on what you need resolved. The second part is make sure the team follows up and comes prepared. When not prepared I in general cancel the meeting and reschedule. It’s a waste of your time to proceed. Personally respect comes with commitment. The last part is the most important one. Schedule the followup and align on the agenda for next meeting. If you don’t, the followup probably will never happen.

Make sure you #PRIORITIZE accordingly

I often see people struggling with their time. There are items which are within reach, and there are items which need more work. There are items with a high impact, and items with a low impact. Start aligning on the right action list and prioritize on 3 levels:

  • Impact (if you complete this, how much impact will it have) If it has limited to none impact, why are you prioritizing this. You probably have more important things to do?
  • Importance (How important is this versus our other deliverables) You can only priorities once, If you make the wrong choices, you will be running in circles, without getting anywhere.
  • Achievability (Is the objective achievable, or does it require more work before it’s feasible to resolve) If you cannot achieve it, it’s still a dream. It will keep you busy, but will not make you productive…

You(/r business partner) cannot do it all. Make sure you communicate the case well to achieve the right attention. If they need you, you can apply the same vice versa. It’s always good to help and support. But when you need to move stuff. You should be certain that you have prioritized well.

Understand your audience and respect their priorities #PARTNERSHIP

Your problem may not be top in mind of their problem. I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t wanting to support, but making sure they prioritize accordingly, requires a mutual benefit. Also your business partners have a busy schedule. When you respect them and understand that they not always can deliver (e.g. you will need to manage expectations), it’s important that you also support them. The partnership in the negotiation is key if you want people to walk the extra length

You are the (co)owner…. So take ownership and follow through….

When you have a priority and come an agreement on how to resolve e.g. come to a resolution, you must be co-owner of the problem. It’s not that people agree to what needs to be done, that they will actually deliver. It’s easy to say yes to the dress (for the ones who do not know this show, it’s about getting your wedding dress and making choices and committing to this as this should be your one off perfect day), but the moment people leave the meeting they get pulled in to the day to day. Waiting for the next meeting and not following up results in never having the meeting and a lot of disappointment. You will be busy doing nothing. And can start again.

Make sure you #KEEPMOMENTUM

As a program manager at hearth, I’m used to keep momentum in everything I do. Sometimes people can find this annoying. Over time you learn that although everyone is willing (sometimes not) keeping the momentum drives results. The tools in this post may not be new to you. I hope however that this helps you bring more focus and momentum to your deliverables. Busy only clutters your day, It stresses you out, and is not really effective. Pride of your work comes with actually delivering and fixing the challenges you have. Not by being supportive to everyone and anyone you are successful. It makes you busy and not very productive.

I hope this post inspires you to focus on the right priorities, but also respect your business partners priorities. Being more productive will give you satisfaction in your job. In your private life (as long as you balance this out). In a world of WhatsAPP, Chat, FaceBook, SNAPchat, etc, we seem to have lost real and effective communication. Focus on what is important, and do that well. Everything else is peanuts. And if you look in the mirror, you don’t want to see a monkey being busy doing something:).

Like, share, or leave a comment. Also I can learn and by sharing experience, we all can improve and be better at what we do.

About the author: @Rahim Gulamali-Duchain.

Strategic Customer Experience focussed Transformational Leader with outstanding track record across BPO, Strategic Change Management, Corporate Risk Management, Information technology, Technical and Financial Project Management. Proven track record in; designing, guiding, clarifying and completing (international) strategic programs; motivating teams and individuals to deliver; streaming and energizing existing business processes where People drive/own the success.



Business coach, Program Lead, Interim CXO, COO, CIO, CSO, from strategic design to physical delivery! Passionate about growing people and a firm believer that the journey is just as important as the ultimate goal. By empowering team members we create the entrepreneurs of the future!Recognised (see recommendations) by former clients, team members and partners as the go-to person when it comes to his track record in delivering purpose and meaning in transformations! Rahim is the power behind Duchain & Associates, a network of Growth Consultants! Completed over 50 successful programs over the past 20 years at a success rate of 98%, Impressive!Pioneer in the area of transformational consulting, leadership and organisational development, topped up with in-exhaustive energy, creativity and passion make him one of the most desirable transformational leads working in today´s market!Rahim is based in Barcelona (Spain)! His work area extends to EMEA and US with past engagements covering most continents!A fun fact. Rahim is a wannabe DJ (a source of creativity), a devoted husband and father (The caring part) and Dogwalker (he calls this sports). Connect and grow with us!