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Four GTD Principles that Help Teams Think

Mike St. Pierre today put together a retrospective of some of his best Getting Things Done posts. While it was great to browse through all of them -- he offers many thoughtful perspectives on how to apply GTD to the real world -- one in particular struck me as useful.

I have a friend who has long complained about the meeting culture at his workplace. He's especially frustrated by the fact that people will call meetings that accomplish exactly nothing: no next steps, no decisions, nothing except "Let's meet again to discuss this further." It's enough to drive someone insane.

That's why one of Mike's posts, entitled How GTD Helps Teams Think, really struck a chord. Mike postulates that applying some GTD principles can help your team make better decisions (or, in my friend's case, just make them).

Here are the highlights:

  • Change your context. Select a different physical location -- maybe a different conference room or even a restaurant -- to shake things up. Or meet at different times to address various specific things rather than trying to cram them all into one session.
  • Close the open loops. As a good leader, it's your task to force the team (gently, if possible) to make a decision. Any loop that is open will come back to haunt you.
  • Remember your runways and landscapes. Give your team permission to think as big -- or small -- as needed. If someone wanders off-topic, promise to address that at another time and steer the conversation back on track.
  • Accept the fact that your group needs you to have backbone. This doesn't mean you have to wield a big hammer. Rather, if you're the boss, you're going to be looked at to make a decision. Accept the responsibility and be confident about pointing the team in the appropriate direction.
For more detail, read the full post. And please share any GTD approaches that work for you and your team.

(image by Office Now via Flickr, CC 2.0)

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