What inspired you to create the Bad-Ass Execution Principles?
Most employers take a hands-off approach when it comes to their employees’ personal organization. However, most people don’t have an effective system for keeping track of their work, and can get overwhelmed when they find themselves with multiple projects to do at once. At my company, Software Advice, we decided to take a proactive approach to our employees’ organization. We also thought that if our team all followed the same systems and processes, we could get things done more effectively. The Bad-Ass Execution Principles are our guidelines to executing on everything from daily activities to long-term projects, and we teach them to all our new hires.
What’s different about your principles and those in David Allen’s Getting Things Done?
Our BAE Principles follow the same basic ideas outlined in Allen’s book: you should get everything that is in your head written down in one place, and break projects down into manageable chunks. From there, our guidelines describe how to use online project management and organizational tools to implement the BAE Principles, such as Basecamp, Google Calendar and Gmail. We’ve also adapted Allen’s concepts to fit with our business model and to reflect our company culture. For example, a principle of ours that you won’t find in Allen’s text is “GFE,” which stands for a more colloquial translation of “Google Exists.” This means that employees should, as a general rule, seek their own answers to questions online before taking up a manager’s time.
Why do you think being organized is so important?
Being disorganized gets in the way of execution, because time you spend looking for something is time you’re not spending getting things done. As an entrepreneur, keeping your corporate files organized is especially important. At some point, you’re going to need to find things like permits, tax returns and registrations–and if you don’t have a system for storing them, this search will slow you down. Dedicate a small amount of time today to set up an organizational system, so that tomorrow, you can focus on big, strategic thinking. If you don’t have an effective system for prioritizing your work, you’re more likely to get overwhelmed or let important things slip through the cracks, especially when managing multiple projects.
What advice do you have for a small business that decides to implement these principles?
Whether it’s these principles or your own company-specific set of guidelines, make sure that the system you choose is practiced consistently across the entire organization. Your principles should help team members keep track of where everything is, get all the things they need to accomplish written down and tackle projects one piece at a time. When everyone in the company is following the same method for getting organized and executing on tasks and projects, your team will be able to work together more effectively.
About Don Fornes
Don Fornes is CEO at Software Advice, a trusted resource for software buyers. Based in Austin, Texas, he founded Software Advice in 2005 after previously holding positions as a software analyst at an investment firm and as a corporate development executive at a pioneering CRM software company. He blogs at A Million Little Wins. You can follow him on Twitter @dfornes and on Google+.