What are simple yet important activities?  These are the activities that are not covered in a project plan specifically that should be performed on a regular basis in support of a project or initiative.  These can be regular touch base sessions with individuals, to a regular phone call to discuss new ideas.  These simple activities are most prevalent in collaboration initiatives and partnerships.  These are the types of activities that will not cause immediate failure if you miss one iteration.  For instance, the project will not fail if you miss one iteration of a one-on-one.  However, these are the activities that will add up to a serious impact as the missed iterations pile up.

We all have those tasks that we must perform on a regular basis that are more administrative in nature, you know the ones, they are one-on-one updates, status report updates, project plan updates that you plan to perform on a weekly basis.  There is another identifying factor in these tasks, generally if you miss one or two updates the project or initiative will not unravel.  These are tasks however that must be updated on a regular basis in order to maintain the long term success of the initiative.  These are the tasks that must be performed in order to maintain the momentum and the staff moral.  These are the tasks that have a start date of the beginning of the initiative and in many if not most cases, no end date.  Another good example of these tasks is the regular staff meeting, in fact this is a perfect example. 

The staff meeting is something that is easy to skip for a week and you understand that nothing will happen if you miss a week.  Then something comes up and you miss another week and nothing happens.  This is the point when the task can fall by the wayside and after a while you realize that it’s become an irregular staff meeting that really doesn’t bring value to the initiative or the team.  I guess that another way to look at these tasks is that you may not realize the importance of the task until you haven’t performed it for a while.  These are the tasks that you don’t miss until you realize that the moral has deteriorated to a seriously low level, or until you realize that key housekeeping and maintenance tasks haven’t been performed for a while and now you’ve got a serious recovery issues. 

I’ve found that the best way to maintain and ensure that you execute these tasks is to schedule them on your calendar and another thing to ensure that you execute all of the activities required is to define the agenda in your calendar entry.  I’ve found that what works best for me is to schedule regular time on my staff calendar and my personal calendar to perform the tasks.  This schedule ensures that i don’t overbook my time and skip the tasks.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

Have your started or are you in the midst of an institutional change initiative?  What are the key traits you have identified as required to support the initiative?  Have you contemplated the name or phrase for the person leading your initiative?