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Outline Or A Plan

Ever wonder why some employees need to have a definite plan in place, laid out to the last detail and others only need an outline, before proceeding? Both types of worker can be highly productive and if managers can manger to that employees need; great things can be accomplished.

Let’s look at the different types. On one end of the scale you have the employee, that’s probably well organized and like a definite plan in place before they start their work. These employees can he highly productive in their orderly and systematic behavior. Most when they have the plan laid out will become very completion-oriented. What we need to be aware of with these individuals is when their “need”: for a plan causes delays or missed deadlines. Most business research shows that to get most goals accomplished we’re better off starting when we have a plan that’ 80 percent in place. The remaining 20 percent will fall in place as we work toward our goal. How do we manage these individuals? Ask them for their plans for a review and make sure they’re not making any big problems out of little ones. Don’t let them get into an over-controlling mind-set. These employees like tried and proven activities so manage to those strengths and watch their productivity soar.

On the other end of the scale we have the employee that only needs an outline for a project and they’re “off” on the road to completion. These individuals are willing to try new methods and they appreciate the opportunity to try new ideas. If these individuals have the expertise, they are the ones you can give the project to and you’ll find it completed with minimal follow-up by you. A problem with some of these employees is that they “think” all they need is an outline when in fact they’re more like our first example and they really “need” a more developed plan before starting the assignment. Another possible issue is the need for the outline to be as complete as possible - no assuming allowed.

Then we have the third group of employees—these—are the one’s that can really be your top performers. If there’s a tried and true plan to accomplish a goal or complete a project, give it to them and they’ll have the project completed more than likely before any due date. On the other hand, they can work equally well with just an outline, they’re your more “knowledgeable” workers so they can contribute a lot of this knowledge to any plan that needs to be implemented. This group like to occasionally put their own “mark” on plans and most manager will find these “marks” beneficial and very useful. Since this group feels like they know “what” to so and all in “what” time frame. They can become stressed if they perceive you as interfering with their plan. This group needs this balance, or you’ll frustrate them, possibly even giving them a feeling of insecurity. When this happens give them a task, one that they can put their own mark. This will re-assure them of their worth and return their mind set to one of top performer.

So, how do you determine what level of plans an employee is most comfortable working with? There are three possible ways to identify these characteristics. One way is to simply ask the employee. A second way to identify a person desire for the level is to have him or her take an assessment—a tool that can help identity the level that they are most comfortable working with. The third possibility and generally the hardest (but a lot of managers try this) is to simply observe this person’s behavior! Is she always waiting to be given a detailed agenda? Is he always ready to get going as soon as a project is discussed? When a new task is brought to the department do, they immediately start working on determining the best way(s) to proceed?

You probably have all three types of these employees within your organization. As long as you can allow them to work to their strengths your organization can become successful and you’ll have well engaged employees.

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