Team Tool: Workload Prioritisation

The department had delivered great work, and were growing to meet increased demand.

Quite rightly, the leadership team were planning ahead and were concerned about becoming a bottleneck.

But how do you prioritise when everything is equally important and urgent?

If you haven’t tried it before, why not try this Team Tool using peer permission to enable prioritisation?

Great Problems to Have

These are great problems to have: growth, too many opportunities for your leadership team and a next level of busy focused teams that you don’t want to put any more load on.

The team members had already used lots of clever techniques to be wise with their time.

Given HBR’s recent research into the new norm being leaders multi-teaming to run many projects at once, you’ll probably have been in this position yourself in the recent past, and know that it is even more important than normal in this situation to carve out time to step the whole department up a level.

You’ll also know how difficult it is to change anything when just looking at your direct report’s workload list – as they won’t really want to drop anything. You probably don’t. I don’t – not unless I have to.

Facilitated Peer Permission

This is where we’ve seen a facilitated Peer Permission process come into its own:

  1. Before the meeting, each team member submits their main work items and side projects.
  2. At the meeting, a team member takes just 5 mins uninterrupted time to explain their list and bring it to life. They especially note items that they want to keep for their own personal development.
  3. The team member then agrees to only listen as the team support and challenge: supporting those items they think are still best done by their colleague whilst suggesting items that could either be dropped completely or taken on by someone else (naming options where possible).
  4. The original team member responds to test they’ve understood, and to propose changes – seeking agreement to the consequences of the changes with the team in a ‘Peer Permission’ way.
  5. Start again at 2 with the next team member.

Post Meeting Feedback

Reflecting afterwards on the successful process, the team explained:

“I felt supported as no one challenged the items I flagged as important to me for my personal development”

“It was easier to make shifts as we could ‘contract’ on the changes there and then with the people most affected”

“It was easier to delegate as we found the level to do that at together”

“We now all need to do this with the teams we lead, so that we cascade the shift in level through the organisation.”

 

Feel free to contact us if you’d like to talk through this tool before using it with your team.

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