Part 2: Task and Compliance Management

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Helping Your Business Achieve “Flow”

Today our jobs, as managers, are more demanding than ever. Balancing what needs to get done on a daily basis can seem virtually impossible. We must pay attention to what works and amplify it. Success comes when we are able to maintain those actions consistently over and over again for a period of time. When things get missed the implications seem magnified. That is why Task and Compliance management is imperative. The better you manage tasks and comply with core standards, the more productive you and your team will be.

Imagine this situation in your place of business. A guest opens the door to your restroom that looks as though it hasn’t been touched in months. What sort of impression does that residue leave? What on earth could’ve happened to have its basic upkeep overlooked? Many of us have unfortunately seen or experienced it, and we don’t want to be known as that establishment.

What Is Task and Compliance Management?

Both of these items tend to run hand-in-hand. Task management is the process of managing a task (a piece of work assigned or done as part of one’s duties) through its life cycle; including planning, testing, tracking and reporting. Compliance means conforming to stated requirements. At an organizational level, Compliance Management ensures that the actions of a set of people comply with a set of rules (defined for example within laws, regulations, contracts, strategies and policies) and set of company standards (values, mission statement, vision statement, goals). Task and compliance management work together in organizations to excel in their workflow.

Let’s first explore task management, which allows you to achieve goals, collaborate and share the knowledge and responsibility with co-workers. Effective task management encompasses managing all aspects of a task, including its status, priority, time, human and financial resources assignments, recurrences, notifications, and so on. These can be lumped together broadly into the basic activities of task management. Task management, together with priority and time management, help us achieve the goals we set. We believe that task management is equally powerful because a task is a fundamental unit of anything we do. If we do something wrong at the task level, it will affect the entire project or business plan. We’ve gathered task management best practices, starting from creating a task through its completion to provide you with practical and useful techniques for managers to work more efficiently and create the elusive flow.

1. Setting tasks
Break the task down until it is manageable in your environment. If the task you set is too big, you or the person you delegate this task to may procrastinate.
Don’t keep the details of the task only in your mind. Almost all tasks may contain some additional information, which you won’t be able to remember in its entirety. There are a lot of details one needs to account for in order to perform a task properly. The more you need to remember, the more likely you will forget something important. If you build a checklist, it will be easier for you to avoid distractions and concentrate your efforts.
2. Planning tasks
No priorities, no effectiveness. Prioritize, or lose time. Prioritizing, as any other task management tool, is well-known but rarely used. There is often a temptation to do the tasks we like to do or want to do first; yet, we should do the most important mixed with the most urgent tasks first. If you don’t prioritize your tasks, you will never achieve your goal and you will keep on spinning in circles, which will get you nowhere. To learn more about how priority/time management can benefit you, view our Priority/Time Management Webinar.
3. Scheduling tasks
Most recommendations say to do the most challenging tasks at your peak energy time. Different types of tasks require different types of attention and should be scheduled for specific times in your day when you are most aligned to accomplish these sorts of tasks.
Interruptions are a normal part of work life. We all know our productivity would be higher if there were no interruptions, but we also all know that’s just not realistic. The best way to go about these interruptions is to balance your time for your own tasks and time for “consulting” by establishing regular interruption hours. This will discipline your team to prepare the questions or describe the problem more precisely and ideally come to you with appropriate solutions.
4. Delegating tasks
Make sure your team members know and understand the goals. When employees don’t know why they are doing certain tasks, the tasks can be done in a way that you didn’t want, not done on time, or not completed altogether. When assigning tasks, make sure they are assigned to the right person who has time and the ability to complete them.
5. Doing tasks
Focus on what you are doing in that moment. Simple advice, yet very difficult to follow as our attention is distracted not only by other people, but by our own off-topic thoughts. If you get stuck, it’s best to take a break or move to another task, then refocus back as you may have gained more energy as well as a new perspective.
Create a “cheat sheet” for common tasks. We tend to look for the same information over and over again, which takes time to find the source and look through it each time we need something. By creating a cheat sheet, we can gather this information in one place and keep it on hand; freeing up our time and memory from looking for these items.
6. Tracking tasks
Track tasks by project or group. Tasks within one project or group often need to be done in a certain order, following one another or depending on one another for completion. If you sort these tasks by number, you will be able to see if the order in which the tasks were supposed to be done was followed or if some of the tasks were missed.
Track ‘completed’ tasks to ensure they were completed in full, not in part. You don’t want them suddenly sneaking up on you later.
7. Reporting tasks
Many employees consider reports to be a constant evil which eat up time and don’t provide any results that could be used to do their job. Creating a report that is easy to use, changing a task status, increasing the percentage of completion, etc., will make reporting less painful. Remember, data and reports alone are meaningless unless they are evaluated and actions are put in place to deliver maximum results. Share information, celebrate good work, and discuss trends that you find.

When we include compliance management into the steps above, we create accountability, transparency, and a high regard for company or managerial goals and missions, and most importantly, laws, regulations, and ethical conduct. We must make sure all data that is fed to compliance officials is accurate, complete, consistent, and appropriate. By publishing a set of policies and procedures, which comply with the rules your company must follow, employees are able to see what must be accomplished and ensures that they are following them to a “T.”

Effective compliance management will help your team understand the vision of how the location needs to be presented. It will protect and enhance your brand and reputation by helping you avoid the adverse affects of non-compliance issues such as litigation, fines, prosecution, and bad PR. The risks, costs, liability, and damage to brand reputation associated with non-compliance can be immense.

Company standards help to assist employees in decision-making, particularly where they may have doubt as to company policy, expectations or meeting regulatory requirements. These sort of polices and programs help to promote commitment to integrity set forth in your company’s values and code of conduct and to ensure compliance with laws, rules, and regulations.

Managers need to be support implementation of ethics and business conduct programs, and monitor compliance with the company’s values and ethical business conduct guidelines through such programs. Managers also need to create open and honest environment in which employees feel comfortable bringing issues forward.

By following company standards you are able to conduct business with the highest level of integrity, meet legislated requirements and protect your company’s reputation in a rapidly changing global environment. To ensure your tasks are in compliance with government regulations and your own company standards, implement these compliance management best practices into your everyday demands.

Create checklists and protocols
Schedule and conduct regular audits and assessments
Suggest recommendations when non-conformance is found and look for the root cause of the conformance issue
Give specific feedback on how the standard is being missed
Track and report all issues to improve compliance and implement best practices via checklists and protocols

Once you have created a process for setting up and following tasks to be in compliance, make sure you continue to obtain input from employees and look for ways that you can make the process flow even better. Whether you’re working on a simple project or collaborating with a team on a thousand-task project, you have to manage your productivity to be successful and drive performance. By using these task and compliance management best practices you will be able to create a work flow that not only saves you time, but also increases the productivity of your business. It’s a win-win for you and your entire staff.


8 responses to “Part 2: Task and Compliance Management

  1. Pingback: Is Asana The Task Management App We’ve All Been Waiting For? | Dave Enjoys

  2. We stumbled over here from a different website and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to finding out about your web page again.

  3. SUPER post. I am writing a series on task management for my ADD-focused blog (based on my upcoming book). Just linked this post to my article “Virtue is not it’s own Reward” (due to post sometimes Valentines Day – so have a happy), and *will” link it to relevent posts coming up.

    More than a few of my readers are corporate types and will probably prefer the tone of your articles on task management to the one adopted in TaskMaster™, so it’s great to have found a resource for them.

    Since we are of “like minds” on the topic, I like your style (grin) & I I’ll be back! Feel free to suggest other links in the comments section of any of the posts in this series (or others) — I’ll approve them.

    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, SCAC, MCC – (blogging at ADDandSoMuchMore and on ADDerWorld – dot com!)
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

  4. Pingback: Virtue is not its own reward « ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  5. Pingback: Doling out the Cookies « ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  6. Pingback: 50 Blogs That Will Make You a Better Manager | OnlineMBA

  7. Pingback: When the Game is Rigged « ADD . . . and-so-much-more

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