How To Use T-Chart Lists (and Become Ammune to the Sorta-Disorder)
Has your startup been infected with “Sorta Syndrome?”
At any given time, a startup has a long list of “to dos,” and many of the day-to-day operations have to do with trying to get these things done.
Symptoms of the “Sorta Syndrome” start to show when a business owner gets spread too thin and is not able to fully complete all the tasks. Instead they “sorta” finish one item before moving to the next, and after only “sorta” finishing that item they move down the list continuing this “sorta” completion of items instead of actually completely finishing that which needs to get done.
This creates an unproductive feedback loop that many people don’t see until it is too late and the “Sorta Syndrome” becomes terminal. This serious condition infects both very early stage startups and those that are fully funded and well established.
So what can you do if your startup is infected? The cure is as simple as following these three steps to diagnose and treat the disorder making your road to recovery manageable.
Step 1. Take inventory: Start by identifying all of the items on your “to do” list. Write down the full list of all of the major components, elements, and tasks that you feel you need to and want to complete. This list should include any major business development components, like intellectual property, business plans, corporate structure, as well as operational strategies involving elements such as marketing, sales, and human resource needs.
Make the list honest, specific, and extensive. These items are not specific tasks, but objectives that need to be accomplished.
Step 2. For each item on your list, independently rate every element on a scale of one to ten, in reference to completion. A value of one indicates that you are not done at all, and a value of ten identifies that you are 100% complete. Be honest with your evaluations.
Step 3. Get a piece of paper for each item identified. Yes, actual pieces of paper. Label each paper with the item, including the completion number ranking (1-10), and then draw a simple “T” chart on the rest of the page. On the left side of the “T” chart, notate what specific tasks are “needed” and then on the right side, indicate what tasks have been “completed” for each item.
If you have more than 5 items that are not ranked as a 10, you probably have “Sorta Syndrome” and it is time that you put on the brakes to make sure your condition does not get worse.
The Cure: Rank the importance of the all of the items, laying out all of the pieces of paper, organizing which items are most important to finish. Then number the items on the papers that you made, and for each item, start by attacking the “needed” list identified on the left side of the“T” chart.
In doing so, focus on a plan to complete the tasks in order of importance that you have identified, giving individuals on your team specific responsibilities for tasks to finish and making sure to actually finish elements before moving down the list of tasks. This focus on getting the most important items done first, and actually finishing them, is the only cure to the “Sorta Syndrome.”