In Part 1, we discussed one unexpected benefit of having an effective issue tracking system, which was:
Benefit 1) The ability to speak with confidence during status meetings.
This benefit had nothing to do with public speaking abilities. Instead, it is related to that confidence in knowing the real status of open issues because you have a system that gives you immediate access to see the latest status on the most critical issues your teams are dealing with. This sense of confidence being much different than what many leaders feel as they walk into a status meeting. See part 1 for more details on the difference.
Today we are going to cover another surprising benefit of having an effective issue tracking system.
Benefit 2) Command a healthy respect from your co-workers and management, because they know you don’t let things slip through the cracks
There are a number of factors that contribute to someone being respected. My philosophy on respect is that people respect people who stand for something important, and who are consistent in their intent and actions over time. Whatever that important thing is that someone stands for need not be grand in scale or even important to most. It simply needs to be important to some. Becoming known and respected as someone who has attention to detail and doesn’t let things fall through the cracks is something that most people greatly respect. Being consistent in attention to detail is a quality that commands respect and can be extremely attractive to management and others. I liken it to the same type of respect students gave to that tough-minded professor in college. Some students lined up to register for his class. Other students paid particular attention to avoid his class at all costs, but all respected him.
Having the right attention to detail takes some discipline, some skill, and a little bit of art. The discipline has to do with being consistent over time with managing the details in a reliable way. The skill involved has to do with a few simple mechanics to manage the details that matter. The bit of art has to do with being able to prioritize in the context of the ever-shifting political environment in which you work. But, an organized and diligent professional can only effectively manage so many details. There is some natural upper limit as to how many plates a person can spin or balls that can be juggled at any one time. To significantly expand past this natural limit, it becomes necessary to effectively work through others. That is where the need for an effective issue tracking system comes in; specifically, one that makes it easy to include others to collaborate with and which is designed to scale as the number of plates and balls increase.
At all levels in an organization, there is a need to collaborate with others to get more work done. This work includes managing all the various and varied details that need to be managed. Based on my experience, there can often be challenges in regards to communication between departments, business units, or other designed separation of duties. There are typically other challenges, but the inter-department communication divide is one most people can identify with. This is good news and bad news. I imagine the bad news part needs no further explanation. The good news part, however, is something you may not have considered. The good news is that it is just as hard for every other professional in the world to get things done in their organization. You are playing on a relatively level playing field. So maybe the good news isn’t exactly great news, but it is still much better than having bad news only. Inter-department coordination and execution challenges have a predictable effect on most people. Over time, if it proves to be almost impossible coordinate efforts with other departments to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s you are supposed to be dotting and crossing, the natural tendency is to find ways to avoid some of your dotting and crossing of some letters and do what you have to do to get things accomplished. But before I continue to travel further down this rabbit hole, let me officially state what I’m not saying: I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t do everything you are supposed to do based on your company’s policies and procedures. What I would say is that many organizations are not very good at designing, implementing, and maintaining effective processes to operationalize their policies and procedures. Some can design good processes. Fewer can implement good processes, and fewer still can maintain effective processes over time.
Thus most professionals eventually find them self in this dilemma:
A) Should I try to complete everything to the letter as prescribed by my company?
B) Should I get something done and ask for forgiveness later if needed?
In many organizations, option “A” above has become the high risk option, which is the complete opposite of what it was intended to accomplish.
Getting back to the topic at hand, being the kind of person who is known for not letting important details slide and getting the job done, puts you on the list of top professionals in your organization. It may not be a published list, but it is a widely known list within the organization. Being reliable in working through all the important details goes beyond what you can accomplish by yourself. You need to get the details into the hands of the people who can do something about them. This is where an effective issue tracking system is needed. It is an under-the-radar secret weapon for those who have cracked the code of it use. You have the ability to handle much more than you think you can, and working through others is the path to increased results.
Tune in next time for Part 3 when we take a look at how an effective issue tracking system can actually help you get a job promotion?!…