great wall of china, done versus accomplished, Toby Elwin, blog

Getting it done versus getting it accomplished

Get it done, value, accomplish, strategy, Toby Elwin, blog

The wall is done, but what did it accomplish?

Some people, and some organizations, can confuse very elemental operational concepts.  The confusion is tough to trace to a culture issue or a perception issue between getting it done versus getting it accomplished.

Getting it done means you care more about finishing than about quality of what you finish.

Very different terms.

Very different concepts.

An alternative way to think about the difference between getting it done versus getting accomplished is like working with someone who continues to advocate the intuitive versus someone who advocates the empirical.

Stretched further it is the induction versus the deduction.

Very different theories.

Just as managing by lists is very different from managing by milestone.

When you manage by list, you only view the blades of grass.  However, when you manage by milestone you have the entire field in perspective.

When you manage by list you only concern yourself with what individuals accomplish.  When you manage by milestone you rely on what a group of stakeholders accomplish together through a series of things to get done that relied on a series of collaborations to happen, before something can get truly accomplished.

Managers, leaders, and organization that care more about getting things done or who manage by list also tend to confuse the tactical with the strategic.

The tactical relates to actions.

An action removed from a reason is never evaluated as a priority in value of the effort required.  If you can not prioritize efforts you can not decide on how to assign resources.

Without a compelling plan for your finite amount of resources.  And a person’s hour is as much a resource as a financial unit.  A person’s hour is actually more precious, you can always make a dollar, but you can never make another hour.

When you manage resources isolated from the bigger need, you have a very strong likelihood to waste resources.

A group of actions, or options, without strategic reason or alignment also tends to those who have given very little forethought for a return on resources.

Without an understanding of the resources needed to accomplish a strategy, no one can decide what should start, what should stop, and what should continue.

There are distinct times for us to manage strategically and for us to manage tactically.  Critical discussions before embarking on any endeavor should revolve around:

  • is this a strategic need?
  • does this map direct to a strategic goal?
  • are we deconstructing strategy to understand our options?
  • is this a tool or is this one of a number of options?
  • what will this accomplish?
  • who will this impact?

The difference between getting it done and getting it accomplished is the different between looking at your toes and looking at your team.

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