Categories | Getting Things Done | Implementation | Inspiration | Training
“Is it even possible to implement GTD across the Company?” That was the question that was plaguing me and Ali. Even if we get tools for everyone and teach them all the basics, it’s still very likely that most employees will stick to their old ways. Change is hard from within an organization. In spite of our efforts it is possible and maybe even likely that our people won’t crank widgets as we expect them to.
Considering these facts the question “should we then go ahead and invest so much time and energy into the training?” is one to consider seriously. On the other hand if we don’t pursue a company wide GTD implementation what are our alternatives? Not to teach GTD and accept the current standard of performance & accountability hardly seemed like a viable choice so we decided that we might as well give it our best shot and keep our expectations low.
Here’s what we did:
First we got everybody their GTD Gear (covered in earlier posts of Rolling out GTD @ Vakil Housing series). Then we kick started the Training. The key to our methodology has been the regularity and persistence with which we’ve gone about “the Vakil Housing Weekly GTD Training Meet”. This is the secret-sauce we found for implementing GTD at our office.
Day: We had set upon a Day for our weekly meeting, say every Friday
Time: 9:00 Am. We wanted to get started first thing every morning.
Duration: 1 hr. Many times it would stretch to an Hour and a Half.
We’ve been dong this for almost two years so to date we have conducted more than 100 hours of Weekly GTD Training at our office.
The General structure of the meeting is:
- Recap of what was learned last week.
- Take Any David Allen Podcast Interview, Article or Audio session from GTD Connect.
- Watch, Listen to or Read out loud the material while I would simultaneously draw a mind map of what is being read on the whiteboard, while explaining further what David covered.
- Pausing the presentation occasionally and going over any heavy concept that David touched upon.
- Once the interview/podcast is over, we would run through the mind map recapping what was covered. Typically I’d share my personal implementation examples, with my “aha” moments during the presentation -Asking if anybody had “aha” moments of their own to share.
- Possibly give everybody an exercise to work upon and get back with feedback next week.
The topics that we covered:
- Obviously, the first course was an intro to GTD. We covered the concept that we are most effective when we are relaxed, but that we can’t be relaxed when we have a million other things pulling and pushing us. In this session we played the David Allen Video on the home page of the David Allen Company.
- In the second session we distributed the various tools (covered in earlier posts) and assisted everybody in setting those up.
- We did sessions where we told everybody to grab whatever papers are lying at their desks or in their drawers and get them all to the conference room where we proceeded to do a live joint processing session with the actual stuff that they have to deal with.
- We had a session on clearing emails from people’s inboxes. The session included sitting with one volunteer and taking 30 minutes or so to clear his email inbox while others watched to see how it was done.
- We had sessions on the Three Fold Nature of Work and the Limiting Criteria, for which we used the relevant articles on the website.
- We once did a GTD-Quiz. Where we made teams to whom I asked questions on the podcast that was just played and we distributed sleek leather bound little pocket calendar diaries as prizes.
- After we felt our employees had truly ingrained the core concepts we did individual sessions on the Natural Planning Model and Horizons of Focus.
- In addition to the very specific GTD sessions we had many other sessions that were just general, just as many of David Allen’s interviews are. We just listen to them and we each pick out the nuggets that mean the most to us.
If you are a senior Manager within your organization and you’ve strictly implemented GTD for yourself but are having difficulty convincing others to adopt it, I would highly recommend trying out the weekly meeting the way we’ve done it as explained above. Keep your expectations low. Having your whole organization/department implement GTD is a big change and as every experienced manager knows most change only happens in small doses.
After more than 100 hours of GTD Training are we all following GTD 100% today? No, we’re not. But we’re certainly more GTD-compliant than before. We are still working on it too. That alone made the whole process worth it. Persistence always pays. Remember, A big shot was once a little shot, who kept shooting.