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When the boss is Getting Things Done ... you'd better too!

Today I met with my (very smart) boss, the person who introduced me to David Allen's book Getting Things Done (AKA GTD). Because I have a lot of autonomy, we tend to meet only once a week or two, which means our time together tends to produce lots of action items. (See my entry Dealing with Meeting Notes - GTD to the Rescue! for more on processing these.) Two things struck me during today's meeting - First, I got to witness and enjoy the "dance" that happens between individuals practicing GTD. For example, we both came prepared with agendas for each other, which made the meeting smooth, efficient, and gave us time to enjoy ourselves while we worked. The second thought came to me when he started going through his "Waiting For" list for me: When a supervisor practices GTD, I suspect it becomes rapidly clear when an employee is not being productive. For example, if I didn't have an action for each of his delegated items, it would be obvious, as well as embarrassing. I can see why it would make sense to train a supervisor first, since that could drive others to adopt (i.e., a "top down" approach). Of course I can also see it going "bottom up," esp. if such grass roots adoption is easier for the organization. Finally, I imagine that when a team as a whole adopts a productivity system like Allen's, the results could be huge. (Marian Bateman talks about this in The Impact of Workflow Coaching for a Team .) I'd love to hear from anyone who's done such a group implementation.

(Warning - entering GTD geek mode: As an aside, I've noticed that I sometimes have items for the same person on both my "Waiting For" list and that person's Agenda. As a programmer, redundancy bothers me, and I haven't found a good way to work around it, save for training myself to check both places during a meeting. Has anyone else has had this come up?)

Reader Comments (2)

You've just filled me with fear, because I've been working on teaching my boss how GTD can be implemented, and like all my ideas, they have lots more power in the "wouldn't THIS be NEAT?" phase than the, "YES, now do it forever!" phase. Aiee. Maybe I'll stop telling him about GTD, and just appear amazing to him a while longer.

October 25, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Hi chris - Well, I'm sure that, if you're the kind of person who's moving things ahead like this, then your boss a) already knows you're great, and b) will continue to be impressed. You raise and interesting point - is GTD a "competitive advantage" that's to be kept to one's self? Also, as I was trying to say in the article, if you're both practicing GTD, the combination might take you where you want to go faster and with less friction. Thanks for the comment!

October 25, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

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