Getting it done – one of my career 9 Situations…


Getting it done – Focus on what’s in your JD – that’s what you’ll be judged on

As will be apparent, my career choices have often been based on the opportunity that arises. My roles at Barclays and Zurich were senior level roles in sectors where I had had no previous experience or knowledge.

The roles were a success because I used my own operating model (simple gap analysis and ranking) to identify the goals and their critical KPIs and then worked with my team gurus to create the road map of getting there and following it. This also turned unmotivated people and teams into inspired, happy and productive ones.

One of the biggest challenges I faced was retaining focus on what was important, my role KPIs. I learnt quite early on that I had to plan to ignore the many distractions, or they would prevent me from doing my job. My planning comprised:

  1. A laminated copy of my Job Description (JD) and that year’s business goals and targets on my desk (or wall) at all times. Any request to join a committee, attend a meeting or conference, give my views on course of action or make a presentation was checked against my JD and KPIs. If it didn’t facilitate the achievement of these, I said no.

There were only two exceptions; if the request was from the CEO or Chair of the business, or if it meant participating in any personal development activity that would enhance my career

  1. Allocation of two hours per week in my diary that were blanked out under ‘Jan’s thinking time’. This was sacrosanct and I used this to think around a particularly challenge on the horizon, to fire-fight, and to review and plan.
  2. Ranked progress monthly against my JD role requirements and collated the evidence.
  3. Periodically reviewed the value to my JD and KPIs of every committee, forum, meeting and their output that I was engaged in, and removed myself from any activity that was no longer pertinent to my role and its purpose.

Reflection: I became very mindful of how I was using my time and that of my team, and that I focused on delivery and excellence in execution. I crafted a reputation for quality, for getting things done and building strong teams.