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My boss wants to use MBOs to manage me. I am fairly new to GTD methods and it seems like they can be complementary to the MBO-style system. However, I seem to consistently struggle with the MBO method of employee assessment/management. It feels like I spend a lot of time "working on the work and reporting/forecasting" instead of actually doing the work.

My question boils down to this: What is a great way to do employee management that is based on SMART (Specific, Measure-able, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based), outcome-based goals/tasks that is not an MBO? If MBO is it, how can I best use GTD methods to reduce the time spent managing the tasks (the meta-work if you will)?

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For those unaware of MBOs: – Tom Wijsman Jul 1 '11 at 2:52
For the even less aware (like me), GTD is "Getting Things Done":… – Bernhard Hofmann Jul 1 '11 at 6:35
Please note that you can hover over tags and click info for more information. :) – Tom Wijsman Jul 1 '11 at 11:18
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Haven't looked at MBO in details before, but the quick read seems to indicate it fits in well with 20000 or 30000 feet view of GTD. The main difference is that MBO seems to advocate starting from that level and GTD says that you need to clear runway before you can even think about higher level objectives.

Of course GTD also has 50000 level view, which may tell you that what you (not the organization) really need is ignore all that and spend more time on the beach.....

What I am doing now is that I am trying to identify whether actions belong to the projects, but also for the projects 10000 feet) try to identify into which theme (20000 feet) they belong. That way during review I can actually see my proportion of effort for different themes.

So the match to me would be to use GTD processes and, as recommended anyway, learn to ensure that the project definitions are SMART.

In any case, the importance is not in sticking to a rigid system, but in creating a series of thinking processes that give you opportunities to constantly course-correct yourself to become better and more aligned to your bigger goals.

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Have a look at "First Things First" from S. Covey, you could apply it at work.

(weekly reviews, weekly goals, four quadrants)

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