Monday, October 28, 2013

Core Values Part 2 - Get Stuff Done: The Newmind Hallmark

Earlier this year we held our summer company party. At that party we take time to recognize team members that best personify the 5 Core Values of Newmind Group. Those 5 core values are: Be Awesome, Get Stuff Done, Make Things Better, Make Mistakes, Rest and Reflect. This is the second article of our Core Values series, written by Newminder Luke about the Newmind Group core value. Enjoy!

The cardinal Newmind value is Get Stuff Done.  GSD.  It’s blunt, and it speaks for itself.  There’s no explanatory paragraph on why Newmind thinks Getting Stuff Done is important, because Newminders define it ourselves.  We’re proud of the incredible work ethic we all have, and we have fun feeding off each other.  We might recognize our teammates’ GSD prowess with impromptu high fives, group email shout-outs (sometimes triggering hilarious .gif memes),  or nominations for the Hustle Board.  Hustle Board?  On the giant, 12 foot whiteboard that sprawls across a wall at Newmind HQ,  that’s the prestigious spot in the corner reserved for the Newminder that recently went above and beyond.

Plus, every year at our summer bash, a special event takes place: the Newmind Awards.  Votes are tallied for which Newminder we all think best represented each of the 5 values over the course of the past year.  We rally around these traditions because they’re authentic.  Nothing is forced; participation is organic.  Recently, we dedicated a full week to each Newmind value.    Winners in each category gave tips on how they mastered their value.  Then, at the end of the week, we shared how we all focused on integrating that value into our workflows.


If you could take a pair of scissors and just cut out all the nonsense from your job, you’d be left with something that looks a lot like working at Newmind.  That being said, the crew at Newmind is at a real advantage when it comes to great coworkers, even better leadership, and an established company culture that’s just awesome.  When I, and fellow Newminder Steve, co-won the GSD award, we both shared our tips & tricks for Getting Stuff Done.  Remarkably, our methodology for serious work handling were very similar.

3 Common Principles To GSD

We both found that, when faced with a mountain of work, we attacked the problem in much the same way.  We talked about them differently, but three common principles were part of both our arsenals: Organization, Sequencing, and Adaptation.

1) Organization
Organization seems like an obvious precursor to kick-ass productivity, but it can easily be pushed aside during a GSD blizzard.  That’s why pre-storm prep is crucial if you want to see the sun again.  Taking time, before you dive into your day, to think about how the tasks at hand can make a huge impact on what you get done.  Step back and think abstractly about what needs to be accomplished, and then prioritize it.  For most of us, there is more to be done than what a day can hold.  This way, the critical tasks get crossed off the list first.

2) Sequencing
Sequencing is another key ingredient in a tasty GSD pie.  When you have 6 hours of X to do, 1.5 hours of Y, and a half hour of Z, what’s the best way to get through all three?  Plow through each like you’re pushing a boulder up a mountain?  Maybe you enjoy Z more than X or Y.  Slicing Z up into 15 minute pieces, and then breaking up X and Y with those delicious Z filets can help keep your motivation where it needs to be.  Shifting gears like that helps keep my mind fresh, and lets me re-approach things throughout the day with renewed perspective and all-around more GSD attitude.

3) Adaptation
Adaptaion is the final piece of being a GSD champion.  You can master the first two, but when things pop up in the middle of the day, or something doesn’t go like you envision, agility will keep you from being tackled like a quarterback without a defensive line.  Changing directions on the fly can mean things getting dropped in the chaos.  Keeping thorough notes throughout the day about progress, updated priorities, changing variables, or other details can mean the difference between being able to pick up right where you left off and looking at your work like it’s some kind of stone tableau adorned with undecipherable glyphs carved in what looks nothing like your handwriting.  Leave yourself a trail of informational breadcrumbs, and you’ll find your way back home every time.

How Do You GSD?

So these are some rough dimensions of a workspace that fits my needs, but you may have something else in mind.  I like space westerns, maybe you’re into documentaries about bioluminescent fish.  Thanks okay, just own it.  My main advice here is to take the time to identify a handful of actionable principles that compliment you at your job.  When you find those methods that work, zoom in on why.  What is it about working a certain way that makes you better?  Once you have that answer you can start applying it to other areas of yourself, and you’ll be on the road to GSDville.

Luke Reynolds is a new member of Newmind's IT managed services team. Previously he worked with schools, not-for-profits, and businesses to help them acquire and deploy Google Chromebooks on the enterprise level.

Luke Reynolds enjoys writing, music, film, and any form of radical human expression. He's also a rabid proponent of Kalamazoo's local roller derby team, the Killamazoo Derby Darlins.