Most people agree that it is lot easier to develop a vision of a desired outcome and a mental model of key steps in achieving that vision, than it is to actually do what needs to be done to realise your vision. Just as it is very important to have a process to develop and manage your vision (see Part 1 of Turning Your Vision into Reality), a complementary process for doing and managing what needs to be done to turn visions into a practical form is also essential.
Key Differences between Visioning and Doing
Appreciating the main differences between visioning and doing helps us understand what we need to do to turn visions into reality. Visioning is abstract, it is usually considered at an aggregated level and it is difficult to measure its likely effectiveness. In contrast, doing usually produces some form of concrete results, the process to achieve the result can be desegregated into key components and some form of measurement is usually possible.
In most cases, our performance is measured by our ability to produce concrete results rather than less concrete visions. Consequently our desire to achieve value for our effort usually causes us to focus more on doing and less on visioning. Reactive management is caused by a doing focus, whereas proactive management requires a visioning focus, but doing is still important (because visioning alone does not produce concrete results).
Fundamental link between Visioning and Doing
To realise your vision, you need to appreciate the link between a vision and what is being done to achieve the vision. Unfortunately many planning methods start with a vision, then focus on what is being done with limited reference back to the vision. For success, the vision of what needs to be done and what is actually being done must be dynamically linked. The Visioning provides the target and broad path, and the Doing provides the planning, organising, controlling, reviewing, and leading, to ensure that what needs to be done is actually done.
A common management cycle helps use appreciate what we need to do be successful.
Our vision tells us what outputs we need to produce in order to achieve our desired outcomes. Whereas doing is about inputs and processes that produce the desired outputs.
Choosing the Right Inputs and Processes
In all cases, we need to match our inputs and processes. In doing tasks or projects to achieve our vision, the processes we can employ are often limited by the inputs we have available. For example, if we have a lot of money we might employ someone else to a task we would do ourselves if we didâ€™t have the money to pay someone else.
Matching Vision and Doing
In Part 1 of Turning Your Vision into Reality, a generic format (template) for a plan that integrates both vision and practical implementation (doing) requirements was discussed. Key elements were:
- Goal (Aim) (Why - OUTCOME)
- Assumptions (Why - Limitations on Inputs) Objectives (What - OUTPUTS)
- Individual and groups involved (including contact details) (Who - INPUT)
- Who is responsible (Who - INPUT)
- Actions by who with what (How - PROCESS)
- Resources (changes to current situation) (What - INPUT)
- Costs (What - INPUTS)
- Start time (When - INPUT)
- Complete by time (When - INPUT)
In the plan template, the "Actions" are the key to HOW a task or project is to be actually done. People, resources, costs and time are inputs that support the process of doing the task. Therefore if we effectively manage actions, we are effectively managing the doing of a task or project.
How to Manage Actions
A number of actions (each less than a days duration) when combined together creates a task. A number of tasks (usually greater than a days duration) when combined together creates a project.
The actions we need to do fall into three broad categories: Calls, Meetings and ToDo's. Some actions may be related to projects, and others to the wide range of tasks we need to do daily. The key to success is to be able to see everything (all actions) we are doing or need to do, yet be able to quickly focus on individual tasks and related task actions when required.
In addition to seeing actions we need to be able to see the people, resources, costs and timings associated with each action. Currently many people use calendars (diaries) and ToDo lists to keep track of their actions, but few people have an easy means to keep track of the people, resources, costs and timings associated with each action. Some people use project management methods to keep track of people, resources, costs and timings associated with tasks, but project management methods are not designed for and have great difficulty handling the many actions most people need to do daily. The usual problem is people say "I know I need to contribute to the task, but what do I need to do". In other words, what actions do I need to do with everything else I am doing.
What tools do people use to Do the actions that realise their Vision? Currently their is no integrated tool that can handle visioning and doing at project, task and action levels. Most people use a combination of a calendar (diary) for calls and meetings (appointments) and a ToDo list (usually on sheets of paper) for actions. Some people use project management software for scheduling projects and tasks. Visioning is usually handled intuitively with assistance from an internal or external Facilitator.
The only way to achieve the level of integration required with minimal training and realistic levels of time and effort is to use a software solution. The solution needs to; address project, task and action levels; integrate visioning and doing; keep track of people, resources, costs and timings associated with each action; automatically handle progress; and integrate ToDo sheets, calendars (diaries), schedules, and plans.
The key is to be able to enter data only once in a way that suits each userâ€™s requirements; and then let the software handle the integration and presentation of the information. The relationships between essential components of a suitable system is shown below:
For visions to be realised actions must be coordinated and completed in a timely manner. A software solution is needed to; address projects, tasks and actions; integrate visioning and doing; keep track of people, resources, costs and timings associated with each action; automatically handle progress; and integrate ToDo sheets, calendars (diaries), schedules, and plans. An unbroken information flow from visions to actions and back is essential for visions to be turned into reality.
TASKey provides a simple, easily applied method to manage visioning and doing; so they work together. TASKey addresses projects, tasks and actions; integrates visioning and doing; keeps track of people, resources, costs and timings associated with each action; automatically handles progress; and integrates ToDo sheets, calendars (diaries), schedules, and plans. An unbroken information flow from visions to actions and back is provided, so visions can be turned into reality.
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