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  • Using The SSK Model to Be More Productive

    How do you know when a project is succeeding?

    What is your tool of choice when determining project status?

    Here is a really simple tool to help you think about any project – whether it’s personal, for work, for community engagement, or anything else.

    It’s not heavily scientific and that’s the beauty of it.

    It’s The SSK Model.

    Where SSK = Stop Start Keep

    Putting SSK to Work

    The SSK Model is a tool can that be used for personal and business decisions.

    Think about the last time you were considering a state or fate of a project.

    Imagine applying this very simple model of Stop, Start, Keep.

    • What should you Stop doing?
    • What should you Start doing?
    • What should you Keep doing?

    Would using this model have made it possible to make decisions about the project faster and more objectively? Would you have been able to pull others into the decision process for a quick assessment? I’m guessing the answers to both of these question is the same.

    That’s the beauty of The SSK Model.

    It’s easy to ask the people working on the project – whether they are at the top, middle or bottom of the organization. You can get candid and hopefully unvarnished opinions. Based on the replies you may want to dig in deeper to understand the issues. But, there may be times that it becomes so obvious that no additional conversation is needed. This will be true for all three elements of The SSK Model.

    On a Personal Level

    Think about anything, anything at all, that you are doing. You can apply The SSK Model to it. Then you can evaluate your gut feel responses against your bigger picture plans. If they are lining up and living up to your bigger picture plans Keep doing them. If you are missing something that should be added … Start doing it. And, if you find something isn’t aligning or providing the value you expected … Stop doing that.

    On a Professional Level

    Organizations can be a bit more challenging. You may find that you are working on things that you don’t personally align to, but they might be part of the job or project. You may also need to meet regulatory requirements which logically cannot be stopped (or at least shouldn’t be). However, there are always things that can be improved.

    Using The SSK Model can provide a quick thumbnail assessment from many people across the organization – including customers and partners – that are working on or otherwise involved in something. It’s a very easy set of questions to ask. And, as noted above some responses will be so obvious that no additional discussion is needed.

    Using The SSK Model

    Whether you are thinking about things for your own goals, working with a mentor, or evaluating projects at work or within your community you can use The SSK Model to seek quick, thumbnail assessments that may lead to deeper conversations and more complex decision making processes. This is a good thing.

    Don’t let The SSK Model throw you off. Use it to build your skills and stand out in your career.

    For example, if a peer, mentor, manager, customer, or partner gives you feedback that you should Stop, Start or Keep doing something … Listen to them.

    Then, do you own SSK assessment to think about what they said, but do take their SSK thoughts into consideration.

    • Start – If someone suggests you Start doing something that scares you … use their suggestion and their confidence to push yourself.
    • Stop – If someone says you should Stop doing something … believe them. You may want to ask why, and you probably should … unless it’s so obvious there is no need to. But, if you do ask why … be open to the conversation. Don’t be defensive. Listen objectively and decide for yourself.
    • Keep – If someone says you should Keep doing something … Use that to think about next steps. Do you agree? If yes, Keep doing it. If no, think about what else could be a better use of your time and skills.

    The SSK Model is just a tool. It’s a quick way to think about a project or task that you are working on or otherwise involved. The SSK Model is also a great way to solicit feedback in a way that allows people to provide candid, objective guidance.

    Use the responses to make the project better. Use the responses to grow your skills and improve your ability to objectively evaluate your own plans for your career. Also, use The SSK Model to take on a leadership role in something you are working on … even if you aren’t running the project The SSK Model can be used as a tool by everyone involved to quickly provide feedback.

    What will you Stop, Start and Keep doing today?

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    Jeff is an expert in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2. He is currently consulting with Microsoft and partners to drive Community Engagement and Alliances. Follow him on Twitter @jshuey or on LinkedIn: in/JeffShuey

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    Posted in Career Development, Success Strategies
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