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Half of the year is over. How’s the progress coming on those 2019 key initiatives we all said would blow our competitors out of the water? This year things are going to be different, we all said. 2019 will be the year of flawless execution of the strategy we spent two solid days holed up in a conference room brainstorming then painstakingly devising a plan. We left the room completely aligned on our most critical initiatives this year, knowing what our role was in bringing the plan to life, and we were all committed to making it happen. Then we went back to our markets and excitedly shared the strategy with our direct reports, and they all bought in, promising to embrace the key objectives and do the tactical work required to make the vision a reality. We even pledged to get the work started before the end of 2018. The problem is we all returned January 2nd and there were reviews to write, budgets to revise, client fires to put out, and perhaps unexpected resignations that sent us scrambling to backfill jobs. So here we are in that familiar place with nothing done – as the profit & loss statement is validating. We can’t get time back, but the good news is it’s never too late to start a mission-critical project, like vetting ATS’ for conversion from that old system, or implementing a social media strategies to drive leads and candidates to the door. Here’s how to jump-start progress:

First, accept that it may not be realistic to think do everything you committed to doing last fall.

Start by reviewing the projects you planned and prioritizing them. Divide the work into mini-initiatives required to reach the end destination, then identify and prioritize the tasks with the highest potential pay-off within each initiative that may be accomplished quickly. This becomes your project plan. Now for the heavy lifting…

Adopt a project management approach.

Having a system to hold all stakeholders accountable is critical to making sure life doesn’t get in the way of the work. Assign a lead member of the team to project-manage. The PM will establish a weekly communication schedule to keep people on task and on deadline. Make status calls required by everyone who owns tasks.

Stay close to work in progress yourself.

Don’t allow other priorities to pull you away from attendance on status update calls and meetings. As the executive in charge, you’re needed to provide guidance and direction as constraints and challenges arise. Take the time on calls to recognize people for their accomplishments, and they’ll work even harder.

Be ready to pivot and make quick decisions.

Challenges will arise. Things won’t always go as planned. Manage any disillusionment by stopping to regroup and make adjustments if needed. Even more importantly, celebrate the small successes with your team, and the larger ones will come.

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