It’s time to put those well thought-out plans into action and give your team the productivity tools they need to make the coming year the most productive yet.
How does the fearless leader choose productivity tools?
Fearless leaders are open to trying new tools, but don’t get distracted by gimmicks. They empower their teams to find better ways to get things done.
Two approaches to finding the the right productivity tool
Find a tool that matches your process. You’ve already invested effort into creating a process that meets your needs. It’s been carefully crafted and streamlined. The last thing you want to do now is change the process to match a productivity tool just because it’s the latest and greatest. The fearless team stays true to their well crafted process and lets their requirements guide their choice.
Let the tool guide your process. No process? No problem. Look for a tool reflecting the process’s best practices. Select a tool that most closely meets your business needs with a little room for planned growth.
Getting the most from productivity tools
Once you’ve selected a tool, make sure you get the most from it’s capabilities. Most tools are continuously adding new functionality and features, but we don’t always keep up . . . leaving them underutilized.
Primary use: Team Communication. Our team members are always on the go. Slack allows us to have spontaneous conversations with several people at a time or privately between two people. It keeps us connected and productive. The tool itself won’t create stronger relationships, but it can enable them.
Unique use: Did you know you can make calls with Slack? Have you ever been Slacking with someone and realized your conversation would be better face-to-face or voice-to-voice? Instead of leaving Slack to launch yet another tool, simply start a call. High performing teams set ground rules to help them communicate better. Agreeing on when to stop texting and start talking is one sure way to build a stronger team.
Primary Use: Dropbox’s primary use is clearly stated―get to all your files from anywhere, on any device, and share them with anyone. In conjunction with Slack, our team uses Dropbox to collaborate from anywhere helping us to limit the need for formal meetings. No need to drive back to the office to ‘get that file.’ It’s right there on your mobile device.
Unique use: Use Dropbox folders to facilitate simple process flows. Designing new processes can be overwhelming. Using a simple folder structure within Dropbox you can create a model of a process to test with your team and gain their input. I’ve created a simple flow to test my workshop development process:
- Research. In this folder I create a document for each research topic.
- Development. When the project is ready, I move it from research to development.
- Review. Once developed the project is reviewed by other team members. They receive notification from Dropbox when a new file is added and requires their input.
- Publication. Once reviewed, the project is ready to be completed and published. It is now ready to be used by the team!
REMEMBER THE MILK
Primary use: Smart to-do app for busy people. Sometimes, simple is the best solution for a productivity tool. At it’s core, Remember The Milk is a simple task list. With tags, smart lists, and collaboration, this tool can help you and your team focus on what’s important. The catch is that you must decide what is important. Once you identify that plan and break it down in to actionable tasks, this tool helps keep you and your team accountable and get results.
Unique use: Simple project management. Using tags to name your project and sub-tasks to identify dependent tasks, this tool can be used for simple project management. Have an event to plan with your team? Create a smart list for your event, add each task with a start and/or due date, assign the task to a team member and let the tool keep you focused.
These are three of my favorite productivity tools. What are yours?
Remember, it’s not the tool that creates the masterpiece, but the hand which guides it. Productivity tools are no different than an artist’s brushes or a sculptor’s chisel. Be fearless and add your own unique way of using your favorite productivity tool.
Productive teams are happy teams.
Notes: This article also appeared on LeadFearlessly.com