The Rule of Five

Dec 21, 2020Coaching0 comments

Many organizations resort to status reports to gain clarity on what each team is working on. However, these ten-thousand-foot view meetings end up being a waste of time. Rather than sharing their most important work, your team members may feel pressure to rattle off all they have accomplished and the tasks on their plate to prove their value.

Hearing a laundry list of items is rarely helpful to leaders. What you really want is to get a gauge on each team’s and team members most important tasks. You want to know the biggest tasks on their plate rather than hearing every detail about the tasks at hand.

How do you get your team to provide to get the most pertinent information? An option would be to consider utilizing the Rule of 5?

So, what Is the Rule of Five Method?

With the Rule of Five, leaders hear the most important and pertinent information from their team. Each team member shares a list of five things, which include:

Two tasks they are currently working on
Two tasks they intend to work on next
One task that people might expect them to be working on but they did not actually plan on doing, which exemplifies flexibility.

For team leaders using this method makes it easier to ensure that everyone is working towards organizational goals. Rather than hearing multiple each person, you can check on five items per person. For team members, the process helps them prioritize their work and truly accomplish something.

It works because…People can only absorb a limited amount of information at one time. Consider most productivity methodologies agree on is that being productive means staying focused. Prioritizing just two tasks at a time helps to drill down into the specifics of a given day or week. Utilizing this method will also help reduce the questions that are not related to the current focus.

You have the opportunity to make a roadmap for your team. Leaders can start by helping their team members list two things they are working on, or what they want to tackle next, after they finish their current task. This creates a realizable roadmap for projects, and it helps everyone on the team assess what is coming next and plan accordingly. If your information for an upcoming meeting, you can make a priority list to share with your graphics department. This ensures everyone knows deadlines, expectations, and stays on the same page.

It is important you eliminate the excess tasks. When you have your team, members mention one task they do not plan to work on, but people expect them to work on, you can ensure everyone knows the extra task won’t get done. It may be due to lack of time or interest or simply because it was not the right idea. It is often helpful to understand the reason they are not working on the task to help others understand why it did not make the cut. When expectations meet reality, everyone feels better.

If your team relies on the usual status updates, you may want to explore the Rule of Five to gain more clarity on your team’s workload and priorities. And this will help you thrive.


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