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  • Writer's pictureWendi Pannell

Moving beyond "I don't know if we're working on the right things"

This is a common problem for CEOs in small to mid-size companies. My team is busy, but I'm unsure what they are working on. In the perfect world, maybe it doesn't matter, the CEO shouldn't know, and everything is moving along great. In the real world, this usually doesn't happen for plenty of reasons. Here are three simple steps to alleviate this concern.

  1. Create the list. You don't have to get fancy and buy the project management software out of the gate. I worked with a client where we started by entering the projects into google sheets and then expanded columns based on information that helped the team have productive conversations. We threw everything in there and then discussed what shouldn't be there and what was missing. This list and its content should evolve over time. You'll want to add some additional columns, and eventually, you'll want to eliminate some you don't need anymore. Don't let the perfection of the list be why you don't start talking about it weekly.

  2. Have the right people in the meeting. Every project should have one accountable person. We had conversations about how several people would/should know the project's status, which also meant that more than one person was in every meeting about that project. I encouraged them to find ways to have fewer meetings with the right people and then figure out how and who to communicate about what others need to know. A couple of things happen in small organizations, FOMO and/or lack of communication, which causes everyone to want to be in every meeting. This is fixable.

  3. Talk about the projects weekly. You can add this review to your existing weekly meeting as a headliner. I recommend having it early in the week, Monday. This should guide the team's work for the week. This will also reduce hallway conversations about status vs. productive conversations about the work we need to do. Also, share with the team that this meeting takes precedence over any other meetings. Don't schedule over this time. If people are missing the meeting, they are going to create another meeting to get caught up.

Here's to your newfound clarity on what is happening!!!

Make it a great day,


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