“It’s simple really. With Streamline I can track and control anything. One system that can manage everything in my business.” John Loesch, Bocal Africa

The Task-Centric Communication Philosophy

Companies are built around people communicating with each other in order to serve the needs of their customers. Those needs themselves are (hopefully) communicated by the customers to us. We need to communicate back to them when we have met, or failed to meet, their need. Prior to all this we would have needed to communicate our ability to serve their needs in the first place.

With all the communication going around in the 21st century one would think that we would get more done, but the opposite seems to be true. It's as if we are stuck in a vicious cycle - the more we communicate, the more our communication fails, and, as a result, the more we try and communicate.

Every time we open our mouths, write a sticky note, send an email or write a memo, what we really are doing is to initiate a task - we want someone to do something (even if its as simple as 'Be Aware') - every communication is an expression of a desired outcome.

So, the following principles apply:

 
Everything is a Task
 
So what is a task then? Intuition tells us it is something TO BE DONE. And yes, EVERYTHING can be considered a task and captured in Streamline.  Logically we can deduce that someone has to do it, and it has to be done sometime in the future. Fair? 
 

A Task has a Responsible Person or Group

In our view and methodology, the person issuing the task is also part of the responsible party. If you want someone to do something - you need to follow-through and make sure it gets done.  If you don't really care about it getting done, and are not prepared to help out with Quality Control - don't issue the task.  This is the core of accountability - delegation does not mean that you are no longer accountable even if someone else is now responsible for completing the actual work.

 

A Task has a Target Date

Now, at some stage the task will either get done, or we'll decide to stop trying to get it done. Conveniently forgetting is not one of the potential outcomes! Even processes which happen on an ongoing basis follow a series of steps (tasks) until the last step before starting again.  Obviously, multiple people may be involved in processes and multiple target dates can be set for every task (and that is Project Management or Process Management in a nutshell).

 

A Task is open until it is closed

Sounds logical, right?  This may seem simplistic but ideally, a task should only be closed when it is done, and when all the parties (the initiator, the recipient and the customer) agree that it is done.  This is again about accountability and customer relationship management.  There is ongoing communication and follow-through throughout the task and it won't simply go away if you ignore it!

 

Tasks are successful when the desires of all the stakeholders are met

If all this theory is boring - just remember the following: our ability to identify, allocate and resolve tasks will determine our long term success. Clearly the modes of communication we are used to cannot achieve these requirements.  This does not mean that other modes of communication are unimportant - on the contrary, Streamline is about utilising communication tools more effectively and efficiently to get the job done.
 
 
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