Executive Optimization Case Study: Aggregated Action Items

The Situation

A Regional VP voiced frustration about having a difficult time finding details of an action item she knew she had been assigned. She was on multiple committees and each committee tracked assignments differently, leading to a lot of confusion and waste for her and her peers.

One committee tracked items in a SharePoint list, while most of the others used Excel spreadsheets. One committee even used separate Word documents (meeting minutes), and didn’t have a single tracking file or list.

The Task

After a short discussion, we decided the best path forward was to aggregate and streamline all committee assignments across the organization into a single tracking tool in which all VPs and Station Managers could locate all items assigned to them. The list would include action items from any committee or staff that involved VPs, Station Managers, and their matrixed support personnel.

Because some action items might involve sensitive material, permissions were to be set to exclude all employees below Station Manager level.

The Action

We built a single SharePoint tracking list with a column that allowed separation of items by committee. By adding this column, each committee and staff action item list could then be separated out by its category.

We went to the SharePoint sites of the committees and placed those filtered views front and center on their home pages so there would be no confusion about the location of the items. We also went to the dashboards of those managers having personal dashboards and placed “My Items” views at the tops of their pages.

Once the list and views were built, we spent about two hours transferring existing items from the various committee lists to the new list. We turned on email notifications for the early stages of implementation to ensure no items went unnoticed.

Once everyone was accustomed to using the new list and views, we turned off the notifications since another of our goals was to reduce email clutter.

Time and Effort Required of the Leader

After seeking buy-in from the Senior VP, the Regional VP only had to give feedback five or six times and spend twenty minutes performing a test run with sample action items.

The Results

Implementation involved sending an email with a link to all future users of the list. The VPs and Station Managers already using personal SharePoint dashboards noticed their items automatically appearing on their dashboards at about the same time.

Use of the new list saved a small amount of time for every VP and Station Manager, but the real value was in each person knowing at all times what was assigned to them and never having to search or inquire about assignments right before meetings were to occur. Accountability and completion of items improved radically and central list-keepers no longer had to seek updates from assignees.

Learn more about what is possible with Microsoft Office 365 technology at CountyQuest.com/Executive-Optimization.

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