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Building a Culture of Completion

24 July, 2017 | Post by

The SQA2 Blog: Advice Center, General

It’s hard to think of something worse than being a part of an organization that limits and holds back it’s employees from making things happen. Actually, I can think of one thing – a company whose employees don’t drive things to completion. Being a lone “Do-er” in a sea of less-than-motivated employees can be a frustrating experience.

One of the top reasons IT projects fail is due to a lack of involvement of executive leadership. All executives must understand that a Culture of Completion is crucial to success. A Culture of Completion can accelerate your organization to new heights, allowing you to take on projects you might have never thought possible. But this isn’t something you can do with just any squad of employees. You need to build a Culture of Completion. Here’s some tips on how you can do that.

1. Hire Do-ers

When you are thinking about hiring someone, what do you consider about the candidate’s past experience? Their schooling? Work experience? Length of employment? What about what they have accomplished? School or work experience only talks to their smarts – their ability to do the job. What about their drive and focus to complete a task? To build a culture of completion, you have to consider the candidate’s ability to complete tasks and projects. Ask things like, “Give me an example of when you completed a tough project.” or “What are some examples of goals you have set for yourself and accomplished?” The whole point is to dig into what kind of person they are. Someone can have a glowing resume, but unless they show proof they get things done, that experience feels kinda worthless, doesn’t it?

2. Remove Roadblocks

When your Do-ers want to get something done, what kind of obstacles are in their way? It’s hard enough on a tough project to get things done on time, under budget, and to spec. Don’t add more layers to a complicated project like requiring company wide director approval for simple projects. You hired your employees to get the job done. If you don’t trust them to, lets say, select the right tools for the job, why did you hire them? I understand approvals for purchases and things like that. There are required levels of approval that must be in place to prevent rogue employees from buying things they shouldn’t. But requiring proposals, revisions, multiple meetings, unanimous approval from multiple directors, etc. is overboard. All this gets in the way of a Culture of Completion. What should have taken weeks has now taken months and all there to show for it is a intangible decision. Consider the magnitude and importance of the decision or selection being made. I trust you can find the balance between protecting your company and enabling your employees to drive things to completion.

3. Integrate Your Teams

You have many roles within your company that span across many different skill sets. Diverse talent working together can accomplish unimaginable goals. So why would you stick all types of a single group in one room by themselves and force them to work over email or even remotely at a different location? Integrate teams so Do-ers can team with other Do-ers to get a project done. Something like integrating your Quality Assurance and Development teams can break down barriers to efficient communication and gets everyone on the same page almost effortlessly. Allow your QA teams to join planning meetings with Business Analysts and Developers so they can know what’s coming their way. Some of the companies with the best examples of a Culture of Completion that I’ve worked with had integrated teams. Breaking down the silos, walls, and barriers can achieve a Culture of Completion.

4. Encourage Task and Time Management

According to Joseph Gulla of IBM Systems Magazine, one of the top reasons IT projects fail is because of the lack of project and task management methodologies in place. If you’ve already hired Do-ers, this may be a redundant suggestion as most highly successful people manage their time and tasks already. However, you can help the your entire company by providing methods and training on effective time management skills and task prioritization. The FranklinCovey method of task management has proven effective for many years among professionals. Any time or task management system is based around the idea of completing tasks (duh). But there’s something interesting that happens in the brain when you complete a task. These methods teach the user to physically check of any completed tasks as you complete them. This actually releases endorphins in the brain that boost mood and desire to accomplish more tasks. Starting the day off with some simple tasks and building on your success can provide momentum to get through the day successful and accomplished. This will build a Culture of Completion by building a work force that is literally addicted to getting things done!

5. Reward Accomplishment

Nothing feels better than to be congratulated or appreciated in some way, especially after a difficult project. On the flip side, it sucks to go unrecognized when you’ve done something good. Make sure, as part of a management or executive team, that you recognize when your employees have done something good. Anything from a “Hey, good job” email to team lunches can really reinforce and encourage dedication and hard work. But be careful as some people prefer private accolades to public displays of recognition. It’s all about understanding your employees and making sure they know you see the hard work they do, in whatever way is best suitable.
A Culture of Completion is not something that is obtained overnight. It requires nurturing and encouragement of everyone involved. But those who create a Culture of Completion will see their projects and company goals accomplished and it might even be fun. Just remember to hire Do-ers and let nothing get in their way. Integrating the teams allowed your Do-ers to work efficiently. Encourage task and time management to keep your employees on task and happy. And probably the most important of all, appreciate your Do-ers by rewarding their accomplishments.

Originally published at on November 29, 2016.

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