Generally, we spend our day reacting to events and situations. Often we get to the end of the day and it can feel like we have achieved very little as the day has passed in a ‘reactive’ ‘fire-fighting’ blur. Or suddenly KPI’s that seemed in the morning to be on track, went off the rails by the end of the day.
Working remotely from your team heightens this issue tremendously. Most Managers use their experience and instinct, often gauging the productivity of a team through visual observations and opportunities to regularly ‘check-in’ with the team as part of their Manager framework activities planned during the day.
The value of proactive management is clearly laid out in ‘Proactive vs Reactive’ management. Short Interval Control is a critical tool which can be used to pro-actively support task management with a team, and also in dealing with keeping KPIs and key measurable activities on track.
What is Short Interval Control?
Short Interval Control (SIC) is a quick ‘pit-stop’. An opportunity to check performance and progress towards tasks and goals in order to make ‘in the moment’ decisions to ensure everything stays on track.
When we don’t check team and performance regularly we end up constantly dealing with urgencies and as we know, being in Q1 on the Time Matrix is exhausting and very stressful.
Additionally, we can get caught up in the busyness of the day and make snap decisions without really thinking things through and considering everything as a whole.
The ‘all hands to the pumps’ solves things ‘in the moment’ but completely impacts everything else, for example:
- A coaching session planned to impact performance doesn’t take place and so planned increases in a KPI don’t occur till another week.
- A team meeting is cancelled and so the focus for the next week and key messages and decisions are delayed which again impact performance.
- A TL’s planning session for a team meeting has to go by the wayside and now the meeting lacks an agenda, focus and structure and is ineffective.
We often refer to the Manager Framework as being a little like a SatNav and SIC is an important activity which should be planned into your framework on a daily basis.
How do you SIC?
- SIC is all about having the discipline to plan small moments of calm and reflection to check your course is on track and re-plan if not.
- During a SIC ‘pit stop’ you are checking that the route planned at the start of the day is still the right route and making sure that roadblocks, congestion or other people haven’t de-railed your plans, sending your SatNav off track.
- SIC is an opportunity to re-route, giving you the best chance of achieving your daily team and performance goals.
- Review where you’re current position
- Forecast where you’ll be if you don’t take action
- Re-forecast ‘ in the moment’ considering what you now need to do
- Plan the change and associated actions
- Take action by making the change yourself, if it affects you personally, or communicating to the team if it affects them and the activities they are engaged in – 5-minute team huddles at midpoints in the day can be key to support this.
Getting started with SIC
Thinking of your role and your business area, identify 5 things that currently de-rail you and consider opportunities that could be taken to routinely check performance and get things back on track if needs be.
Here are a few SIC opportunities you might want to consider:
- Effective email management
- Upward management (pushing back to up-line manager to ensure achievement of planned activities)
- ‘in the moment’ coaching to support team members if required
- Contingency planning
- Effective buzz briefs/intra-day and week management
- Daily planning to re-align activities
- Regular checking of measured activities (and not just when things have increased and are out of control needing recovery!)
Don’t forget that a number of other Active Manager tools are useful companions to the SIC process including:
- Time Matrix
- Manager Framework