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Juliet Funt: How to Stop Wasting Time on Unnecessary Tasks

Juliet Funt GLS18

Organizations across the world are paying smart people a lot of money to do unnecessary tasks. So says Juliet Funt. At the Global Leadership Summit this year, Funt shared three practical tips to help leaders and their organizations to stop drowning in busywork.

“The future of work will be simpler. It has to be,” Funt, the CEO of White Space at Work, says.

Forward-thinking companies are embracing simplicity by trying to improve their technology, reorganizing their staff and processes ad nauseum, and finally doing their standard work. There are a few key things these companies miss, Funt argues. In a way, their pursuit of simplicity has become busywork.

In order to simplify and focus on the most necessary tasks, Funt says leaders must be aware of three behavioral blindspots they often fall into.

Conformity – Funt describes this phenomenon like this: “Nobody changes until everyone changes so nobody changes.”
Compulsivity – In the organizational world (which the modern church falls into), we say the first thought that comes into our heads and we don’t filter our thoughts. This wastes time and creates a lack of focus.
Control – It’s hard to escape the fact that most leaders like to control. But if they don’t learn to delegate, their need for control will stifle their organization’s growth.

As a remedy for these blind spots, Funt offers three practical tools leaders can use to address these blind spots.

The remedy for Conformity is the White Space 50/50 rule. This rule says anything that bothers you at work is 50 percent your fault until you ask for what you want. Just one person going against the majority in an organization can reduce conformity by 80 percent, Funt says.

The remedy for Compulsivity is to organize communication methods into 2D and 3D categories. The 2D category contains simple, yes/no information that can be communicated by text message or email, while the 3D category contains information that is nuanced and requires a more complex method of communication like a phone call or a meeting. When you push 2D content into a 3D medium, you waste time. When you push 3D communication in a 2D medium, you miss out on potential and you risk mishandling the information.

A second tool is the Yellow List, which is a document you make for each person you work with. Whenever you have something to tell this person, ask yourself: Does this need to be asked or communicated right now? If not, put it on the yellow list. You can follow up with that person later and download the list all at once to them. Your Inbox will decrease significantly, Funt promises.

The remedy for Control is identifying who should be in your first tier delegation list and who should be in the second tier. First tier people can be given authority, but you don’t give the second tier people as much authority as the first tier.

Funt only shared a handful of tools in her speech, yet the information she shared could be huge for your organization.

“Legacy is a story about you that is yet to be written, but for which you hold the pen,” Funt concluded.

Funt shared these principles with leaders at the 2018 Global Leadership Summit at Willow Creek Community Church.

More on the GLS18:

Craig Groeschel: How to Become a Leader People Want to Follow

Danielle Strickland Delivers the Message of the Moment at the GLS

What You Need to Know to Work in Diverse Groups

Erwin McManus: You Need to Tell Death and Fear to Get Behind You

Simon Sinek: Leaders, You Are Playing an Infinite Game

Top 50 Quotes From the #GLS18