>As an L&Der I love learning about different tools and techniques to help groups achieve their goals and objectives. The world of L&D and OD (Organisational Development) cross over immensely and the lines are often blurred where one stops and the other starts. In my experience though the two don’t need to be that disparate. OD is about implementing a new way of doing something, or identifying new processes, or facilitating a group in a discussion. L&D is about improving skills across the workforce. I’ll discuss this in a later blog. For today though I’m focusing on a particular planning tool which really helps focus a groups efforts.
The Impact/Effort matrix is a good tool for helping a group decide on what actions they should undertake, and often in what priority. Let’s explain what it is first, then discuss uses after. Effort is defined as the amount of time/resources you need to put into the task in order for it to be a success. Impact is defined as the potential achievement of a set of objectives. This could be impact to organisation, team or efficiencies.
Effectively you have a 2×2 grid.
1) Bottom left = Low Impact and Low Effort (Think about)
These tasks require little effort but will also have little impact.
2) Top left = High Impact and Low Effort (Quick win)
These tasks will have immediate results and require little effort.
3) Bottom right = Low Impact and High Effort (Forget about)
These tasks will take a lot of effort but the return will be minimal at best.
4) Top right = High Impact and High Effort (Requires planning)
These tasks will produce high return but also require high effort.
This is best used once a group have come together and created a list of tasks they need to action but are unclear about how to prioritise them. Where I have put this tool to good use, within the space of an hour you can see that a team readily identify what needs to happen and the priority associated with each.
You can then plan out the tasks and assign such things as time-frames, potential budget, resources required for completion, and communication plans.
Once you have decided on these, it’s then important to assign responsibilities. It seems like an obvious this to say but so often have I seen that the tasks have been prioritised but Bob thinks Terry is going to do it and it should have been Neil doing it all along.
It can also be effective for time management. If you have a way of initially creating a to-do list, this grid can be used in exactly the same fashion as described to help you prioritise which tasks need to be done so your time is effectively managed. In this scenario you would envisage tasks in 4) should be given the larger portion of time (approximately 60-70%), those in 3) given a fair portion of time (approximately 20-30%) and those in 2) and 1) divided accordingly to what you have available.