Some mornings when I power on my computer, all I see is red. The red of those small,
seemingly innocuous follow-up flags in Outlook
I use to indicate I am awaiting anything from a
simple response, to a notice of a task completed
from another person. They whisper, “This is unfinished business, there is more work to be done.”
I’m not alone; people have told me those red flags
live in their inbox, too. And, to be fair, I’m sure
people have flags on some e-mails because of me.
If you’re anything like me, your days are overfilled with innumerable pulls on your time. However, busy doesn’t always translate to productivity.
Like cars in a line of traffic, until the car in front of
you moves, you can’t; and that car can’t move until the one in front of it moves; and so on. Someone
has to be the traffic cop and move things along.
How can you can proceed to your destination
when blocked by inaction?
CREATE AN ASSIGNMENT RECORD
It can be a formal log, highlighted notes—and
yes, even red-flagged e-mails—but everything
for which you are depending on another’s work
should be recorded. Record it all: an asphalt RFP,
an important question to be answered, even a vacation brochure you requested. You name it, record it for reference.
Tip: Records can be as simple as a list by responsi-
ble party or due date. The more delegation you’re
doing, the better to have a more flexible system.
Develop an Excel spreadsheet that can be sort-
ed by name, due date, follow-up date, property
name, issue type, status, etc.
Tip: For those red-flagged e-mails, change the subject line to serve as everything you need to know.
Try this format: “OP Chris: Letter of Intent Due
12/08.” Now, with a glance, you can see open issues.
MONITOR: LOG THE STATUS & USE
The adage, “what gets measured, gets done” ap-plies. Monitor the assignment record, and let people know you’ll do so. Log the status as the work
moves along, or worse, slows to a standstill. Watch
those open issues like the traffic officer anticipates
traffic flow. Have patience, yes, but when in jeopardy of losing good results, blow the whistle and
move things along.
Tip: Reminders can have more than one round.
To save time, try a first response of forwarding the
complete email thread to the responsible person,
stating, “Second Request: How is this coming
along?” If after that you’re still waiting, “Third
Request: Please submit within 24 hours or contact
me with your update.”
Trust the work of those who have proven themselves as exceptional. You don’t want to over-su-pervise and micromanage. However, keeping a
watchful eye on assignments prevents negative
consequences and keeps traffic moving along. After all, results are caused by actions, not intent.
OF BRECHER &
ABOUT THE IREM
LEADERSHIP IN THE
NEW AGE OF REAL
ESTATE (2ND EDITION,
2016), WRIT TEN BY