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  • How to bring GTD into a resistant workplace?

    First off, First Post!! I have read both GTD and MIAW, and have been practicing stress free productivity for over 12 months now. It has transformed my life and 12 months ago I would never have thought I would have developed so much. So in that respect I thank David Allen & co for helping me, and the support this community provides!

    Ok so..

    I have just got an internship in an office, and they have a filing system which to be frank is the "find a space on the floor" approach.

    They have filing cabinets with hanging folders, which have not been purged for the best part of 10 years, and its not alphabetical its simply full to the brim.

    Now my dilemma is this: The owner (my boss), and managers are "used to it" and extremely resistant when I mentioned helping them organize the files.

    My question is: How do I begin with this? How do I invite my own boss into getting organized? this will most definitely require a few weeks one on one with him as there are many important files lying about. I believe it will help out the business how do I get him to see this if he is so resistant? (and I can now relate to the "non-gtder" frustration!

    Thank you for your creative responses!

    SteGTD
    Last edited by SteGTD; 06-29-2010, 08:01 AM. Reason: question mark in title.

  • #2
    well, whenever you approach the boss with an idea, you have to ask "what in it for them?". Trying to convince your boss to spend several weeks doing something that they may see as a junior admin's role is probably not going to fly. Perhaps suggesting it but instead agreeing criteria (e.g. nothing less than 3 years old) and then agreeing occasional check-ins, such a list of files you intend to chuck before you do.

    and for heavens sake dont suggest that you're trying to get them organised. I dont think most people want to hear that, whether or not they need it.

    Comment


    • #3
      yes, you pretty much got the answer I was looking for, of course I have approached it very politely so far, I just feel its the main reason i have been hired, but of course he cannot see the value in having all those files organized.

      I would be interested how a GTD connect coach approaches the first step, to "justify" the purging and filing process.

      Thanks for your response.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by SteGTD View Post
        I would be interested how a GTD Connect coach approaches the first step, to "justify" the purging and filing process.
        You can't get anyone to do anything. I would try to work with what that person has as agreements to their stuff. It's not about what I would consider "organized". I'd ask open-ended questions like, "Is that exactly how you'd like that?" Usually people will admit to something that's not exactly how they like it. What I wouldn't do is try to tell them what they should do. It's not about my standards, agreements or where I'd have my attention--it's about their standards, agreements and where they have their attention.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by kelstarrising View Post
          It's not about my standards, agreements or where I'd have my attention--it's about their standards, agreements and where they have their attention.
          I agree

          Thanks for the advice, really appreciate it!

          I will let you know how I get on, you've definitely given me the perspective I needed. Of course Im still open to other ideas if anyone has anything to contribute

          SteGTD

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          • #6
            Originally posted by SteGTD View Post
            I will let you know how I get on, you've definitely given me the perspective I needed. Of course Im still open to other ideas if anyone has anything to contribute SteGTD
            You could just chuck all the stuff and see if they ever notice.... (:

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            • #7
              haha well ive got nothing to lose, AND his non GTD attitude is annoying "do a really want to work for such a company!?" haha

              Comment


              • #8
                I think it is rather unusual...

                Originally posted by SteGTD View Post
                I have just got an internship in an office, and they have a filing system which to be frank is the "find a space on the floor" approach.

                They have filing cabinets with hanging folders, which have not been purged for the best part of 10 years, and its not alphabetical its simply full to the brim.

                Now my dilemma is this: The owner (my boss), and managers are "used to it" and extremely resistant when I mentioned helping them organize the files.
                I think it is rather unusual to teach the business owner how to organize his business during the internship...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                  I think it is rather unusual to teach the business owner how to organize his business during the internship...
                  well now you mention it.. this particular office doesnt actually use the term internship, but ive been hired to help out and learn, so I can replace a member of the team (the are retiring soon).

                  But I agree I should be very cautious in my approach to the business owner about how to organize his own business, regardless of how clear it may be that it will help out. but I am glad you have spotted my dilemma.

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                  • #10
                    On the other hand you can try... with honesty and respect.

                    Originally posted by SteGTD View Post
                    But I agree I should be very cautious in my approach to the business owner about how to organize his own business, regardless of how clear it may be that it will help out. but I am glad you have spotted my dilemma.
                    On the other hand you can try... with honesty and respect.

                    I know at least one case when a new employee was so good in restructuring the business that he took it over from the previous owner.

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                    • #11
                      Look at it from their view

                      Whenever you wish to help someone, it is my opinion that you help them for their sake, not your own. It seems to me that you wish to change their system to make it 'better'. Whilst most GTDrs (and even a beginner GTDr like me) would agree that GTD works it is not your boss's way. Perhaps try living with their system for a while and learn what WORKS for them. Remember no one likes being told that they need to change. If you imply that a boss needs to tidy up his files you are indirectly infering that he is not organised and not 'good enough'. Try to learn what your boss is doing right before you try to change anything you see as not right. Once you fit in then you are in a better position to add to the business.
                      Allie

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                        On the other hand you can try... with honesty and respect.

                        I know at least one case when a new employee was so good in restructuring the business that he took it over from the previous owner.
                        So I took the honest approach. I have the job! gtd worked a treat!

                        The back office is "managers only" territory with lots of confidential papers and private personal information. As an "intern" or "helper" new recruit this is not really the place for me to suggest a completely new restructuring organization system.

                        This was the exchange:

                        I began by suggesting me hoover up clear the junk on the floor of the office (he had shown me around the entire place and we ended up there) and he took me in and I could sense he was embarrassed about the mountain of paper covering 90% of the room, I explained I was good with paperwork and he enquired to what ive done previously.. so I told him about my home system (filing cabinet and inbox etc) and I suggested I could see all this paper down to the bare essentials, and "recycle" the rest.

                        He seemed keen and he handed me the role as he told me "he did just not know what to keep or throw away" I suggested my method of picking one sheet of paper up at a time and deciding wether it was actionable/ junk or not, and this worked a treat. he got a burst of energy and found numerous "oh yea ive got to..", anything I could do I took down on paper for him and compiled and actions list. He was so impressed he requested me continue alone, he agreed that I could remove all paperwork which was dated prior to 2009.. so 08 backwards could be discarded.

                        without hesitation I began picking up and reading one by one the tonnes of confidential papers and sales agendas, financial reports, cash receipts... etc and processed each one into these categories I had set up:

                        1)Read/review (books magazines)

                        2)To file (anything with important reference information but no real action)

                        3)Action items (forms that needed to be filled in and the filed, and any items that I did not really know what the score was with.. ie your rent is due make a payment phone this number,basically this was my own review pile for him to glance at)

                        4) Trash, straight in the bin!


                        One thing I came across which ive not really noticed any guidance on is contact numbers.. this guy had maybe 30 numbers scrawled on post it notes all over the room.. so I compiled them to one list and purged the post it's, is this correct? (now what to do with the random contact list?)

                        So basically I thank the GTD team, and all of your constructive comments, it has helped me secure the position possibly higher than I was originally opted in for, even the other staff thought I was the new assistant manager, when really I wasn't even applying for a position at all!

                        Thanks

                        Ste

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Great job! Congratulations!

                          Great job! Congratulations!

                          Originally posted by SteGTD View Post
                          One thing I came across which ive not really noticed any guidance on is contact numbers.. this guy had maybe 30 numbers scrawled on post it notes all over the room.. so I compiled them to one list and purged the post it's, is this correct? (now what to do with the random contact list?)
                          I think this is list an actionable item. So you've got two questions to ask:
                          1) What's the Next Action?
                          2) What's the successful outcome?

                          I think the Next Action is to check if your boss or your company has a place where all the contacts are stored.

                          And the ultimate successful outcome is "A place for everything and everything in its place." i.e. all contacts are in address book or database.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            address books

                            Many people need two sets of contact information:

                            1) contact information they use regularly... which is most often stored in cell phones, a paper Address book, or in Outlook.

                            2) a contact information archive.

                            I use a text file for the latter. I can send it by email for universal access and backup, edit it on any computer, can be searched easily and quickly, and can contain thousands of entries in very little space. Mine is small enough I carry it on my phone, as a list separate from my regular Contacts. If desired, a hard copy can be printed in very small font for analog use.

                            At least once a year, it is worth reviewing the regular address book and purge and update the archive.

                            JohnV474

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