Monthly Archives: December 2012

How I Learned to Manage My Plan

notebook-and-pen-190x190Planning is something I like to do and am known for amongst my family and friends. Planning includes monthly dinners with friends, neighborhood get-togethers, holiday parties, vacations, and reunions. I can write a grocery list in the order of how items are stocked on the shelves.

Planning for work gives me the same enjoyment. There is not a better feeling than putting my weekly work plan into place and checking off items as they are completed. However, at the end of most weeks, I have felt disappointed and defeated because I had not checked everything off my weekly plan. It wasn’t until I learned to create a time-managed action plan that I realized I was not checking everything off the list because there were not enough hours in the day to complete all my tasks.

I would like to offer you a few tips for creating a time-managed action plan.

  1. Create your daily plan in half-hour increments, listing in detail what will be completed, how it will be completed, who is involved, how much, and by when to start and finish.
  2. Prioritize your plan with items labeled as “critical few.” These are your tasks that you consider to be extremely important to you and extremely urgent to someone else, such as coaching, urgent client requests, or client meetings. Items having lower priority in your plan would be the minor many. These are the tasks that, yes, need to be done but are somewhat important and less urgent. It might be that you have to sign the holiday cards being sent to your top clients.
  3. Plan to complete the most difficult tasks in the morning when you and your mind are fresh.
  4. Block out time on your calendar to time-lock so you can focus (without interruption) on priority tasks that require concentration.
  5. Batch tasks that can be done at the same time, such as reading email, listening to voicemail, making outbound calls, or completing reports.

Please try these techniques when creating your weekly action plan, as they offer me a sense of accomplishment and psychological freedom each week.

Cynthia Whitmer Griffith is a Performance Results Network Results Consultant for Community Banks and Credit Unions at Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.

One Simple Behavior; One Giant Impression

canstockphoto10405518My husband and I traveled to Moscow last week—a long way from our South Florida home and a long journey through multiple airports. We travel extensively, but this time we were struck by the service we received from airline personnel at all the different touch points—airport check-in, lounges, gate team, and in-flight crew.

I had lots of good experiences on this trip, but one thing stood out. This airline, perhaps in part because of all the security requirements, unfailingly used our names. But it wasn’t robotic and it definitely made an impression. In each case it seemed a sincere effort to build rapport and make our journey pleasant. Yes, I was traveling business class, but my husband wasn’t and the first thing he commented on when we deplaned and reconnected in the terminal in Moscow was the friendliness of the staff along the way and their use of his name.

One simple behavior demonstrated across the organization made a very big, very positive impression. In our minds, it’s now part of this airline’s brand and reputation.

This got me thinking…If I had to choose a single behavior or activity that, if performed consistently with a high degree of quality would have a lasting positive impact on my customers’ experience, what would I choose? And, how would I make that activity part of my company’s DNA—something everyone in the organization understood as vital to providing world-standard service? What level of commitment, focus and follow-up would it take to cascade just one behavior through an entire organization?


Cynthia Leverich is Director of Global Business Development for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.