A prescription for getting things done on time


Stephen Covey taught me a simple and clear process that substantially improves the odds of getting people to deliver projects on time – over the years it’s become known by many of our Members as “DR GRAC”.

DR – stands for “Desired Result” – many projects and tasks fail to be completed due to miscommunication at the outset. For example, if someone says “in the short term” what time period are they referring to? I’ve asked this question of many people and have replies ranging from an hour to a year. Similarly the spread for the terms “medium term” and “long term”. The clearer the brief the more likely a project will be completed to the desired result and timetable.

G – stands for “Guidelines” – what are the specific must haves and also what isn’t acceptable? For example, if the desired result is to make 10 sales this week what probably isn’t acceptable is for these sales to be made at any price. People need to know the boundaries and how much flexibility they’ve got.

R – stands for “Resources” – what equipment, budget, other people, etc. are available to enable a task to be completed? Identifying these needs at the outset can be really important and is empowering for the project owner at the same time.

A – stands for “Accountability” – how often does the project owner need to check in with progress. Stephen had 6 levels of accountability ranging from a very tight leash to “JDI”. The key is to set the right level for the right person for the right project. Hardly anyone is always at level 1 or at level 6. The complexity of a project and the skills and experience of the project owner will determine the right frequency for updates.

C – stands for “Consequences” – what will happen if the project is completed successfully or not?  When someone understands why they’re doing something it is almost always the case that they will be more effective and give more of their discretionary effort. All too often, people are assigned work without knowing why they’re doing it or how it might impact on other things. If they can see that what they’re doing is relevant and significant then it is much more likely to excite and cause them to think creatively offering alternative options.

Some of our Members actually have DR GRAC printed on their project briefing sheets and tell me that the process is additionally beneficial for them as it causes proper thought and consideration prior to the project being assigned.

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