If you’ve spent much time with my team, you’ll know that we finish every facilitated workshop or event with a concise list of action items, owners and projected due dates. If any of those action items have been assigned to YOU before, then you can appreciate just how hard it is to get them done!

What it can feel like when trying to manage action items on top of our regular workload!

This is one of the most (if not the most) challenging aspects of innovation. Allocating the right amount of time, brain power and resources to accomplish tasks on top of your regular work can be stressful and exhausting, especially if you are under pressure from management, teammates or your customers.

If you’ve been through a brainstorming session of ours, you’ll remember how energizing it is to come up with brilliant new ideas and creative solutions. Idea generation is usually the crowd favorite when it comes to innovation, that’s why we do what we do! However, once we get down to assigning action items, the energy in the room tends to die quickly… hesitation creeps in… a sudden fear of making eye-contact with the facilitator comes over the room… only brave souls dare to raise their hand…

Having experienced this situation many times over the last few years, I’ve come up with some tips to boost your confidence and get those action items finished!

First, define accountability measures. This can be as simple as scheduling a weekly or bi-weekly check-in with the project lead. Without this or something similar, it’s easy to let action items things fall lower on your list of priorities. Take the time to do this up front – preferably at the time the action items are being assigned.

undefinedSecond, make sure you have time. This is often overlooked but crucial to success. Open up your calendar and block off time to work on action items right away. Time is our most valuable resource and it won’t be available unless you are proactive! I’d recommend scheduling at least 2-3 hours per week until you clear your list.

undefinedThird, break it down! Each action item usually has “hidden” sub-items that can get overlooked. What you thought was a quick couple hour project could quickly become much more work than anticipated. Be sure to break down your assigned items into multiple tasks and appropriate calendar blocks!

undefinedLast, bring in a collaborator! Sometimes all we need is a little help from our friends 🙂 Some of us are solo contributors and others prefer to work as a team, but either way, we ALL need someone to gut-check with. This person doesn’t have to be part of the project, they just need to be willing to listen or help.

Again, this isn’t easy but if you follow these tips, it might be just a little less painful! If you work for the City of Denver and your project has stalled or lost momentum, please give the Peak team a call. We would love to help get you back on track 🙂

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