Thursday, March 12, 2009

A GTD Workforce: Is There a New Industry Standard?

The afternoon kicked off with another GTD Summit panel. This time, the conversation centered around whether or not GTD

Panelists: Todd Brown, Randy Harward, Jeff Irby, Ron Kaufman, Sara Larch, Brian Lowery, Eric Ly

Moderator: Mike WIlliams

Todd - No...there is not a standard. Not seeing GTD skills on resumes yet. This is very important, however, due to globalization and the economic crisis we are seeing right now. A lot of distractions in life (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Are these adding value. Imagining nirvana...ability to keep head clear, etc., but wider organizational effect would be seeing people demanding more of management. What are organizational goals? Generate and communicate vision for company. Help facilitate succession planning. A great gift we can give to people.

Jeff - The standard I'm worried about is burnout, ping pong e-mail, pushing paper around, etc. Just chaos around how people work. Struggling with how to stealthfully implement GTD across the organization. The people who say they can't do it and can't be pinned down are the ones who need it most. As a manager, injecting the ideas into the organizational rules. The weekly review and projects are being subtly attacked via management direction.

Brian - What really sticks? Meeting prep worksheet. How can the best version of yourself show up at the meeting? What is purpose of the meeting? What is action that should come out of it? "Why does this simple worksheet stick?" Answer from client: "Because it forces me to think". Force a conversation around areas of focus by having 1 on 1 sessions with employees.

Eric - I'm an engineer and entrepreneur. One of co-founders of LinkedIn. Working on new company. Coming at GTD from a technical point of view. Very interested in building and creating products. Organization is just as important as building the product itself, because it effects the outcome of the product and success of its innovation.

Randy - Main job as manager and leader is to manage systems those people work in. Need to spend more time to teach them tools & techniques like GTD. These tools are removing coercion from workforce. Going to look for someone that is systemic in their thinking when looking for leaders.

(Side note: Very interesting to see all the panelists capturing thoughts and ideas from their fellow co-presenters. Stimulating thoughts all around).

Sara - In interviews, asking people to describe how they manage projects, how they work. A different approach. Looking for diversity and successful "day-to-day survival skills". Very humbling to be doing things the way I've always done at a new place. When you are in a new organization, think about how fragile you feel and keep this in mind when you bring new people in. This is a great chance to teach them the tools and concepts (how we do meetings, etc.). Give yourself permission to change if necessary.

(Another side note: Amazing that all of these black-belt GTD individuals all admit to falling off the wagon. The beauty of GTD is being able to get back on the wagon quickly.)

Ron - GTD started out as a very personal thing. Looking forward to seeing how we bring this up to the next level...getting things done together.

Q&A Time:

How do we fight cultural resistance? Jeff - How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Just work on focusing on the area of influence you have and the things you can touch. Todd - Stop doing what you are doing and do new things.

Interested in any case studies that measure impact of GTD in an organizations. Are there any? Love to see some set of models or tool. If not, what would be required? Eric - The standard doesn't exist yet. Used informally on an org level so far. One of the important elements is to create a framework that all organizations can sign up to. Each org has unique measurements. Have initial common set, by organization has to sign up to creating their own measurements to get true by in. Randy - Kind of weary of standard measurement practices. May be measuring things off target.

It seems like we need to implement GTD from the top in order for it to work. What do you think? Randy and Sara both agree it has to be more viral. Start with small groups and work to get consensus among members that you can be successful. Need 3% of the organization to embrace for it to get enough visibility, then it will either be accepted into culture or rejected.

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