Bust those barriers for a strong finish

Bust those barriers for a strong finish


Rather than winding down a lot of my clients are sprinting towards a finish line, uncertain how they will achieve all that needs to be done before the year ends.

The workload is heavy and business is ramping up rather than winding down in the lead-up to the holiday season.

If this is you, here’s an exercise that will take you half an hour individually or one hour together as a team and will save you hours as a result, providing clarity and focus on what needs to be done and how.

Get your team together and get ready to blast those barriers for a strong finish!

You will need:  Thick black, red green and blues textas; Post-it notes; a flip chart or whiteboard and a quiet place to reflect and work.  

Firstly select the exact time and date that want to leave the office by.  Book this out in your calendar and commit to this or organise a team end of year celebration for that exact time.

Next: Grab the Post-it notes, textas and think about all the barriers that are causing you concern and will prevent you from a strong worry-free end to the year.

When doing this as a team, spend two to three minutes working on your own first.  As the barriers start to roll in capture them on the Post-it notes – record only one barrier per Post-it note. 

Keep going until you have exhausted all the barriers that stand between you and leaving the office feeling great and worry-free.   Once this has been achieved break into small groups to discuss, adding more barriers as they emerge.




Stephen Covey introduced us to the Circles of Influence /Concern in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which was published in 1989.  This model keeps me off Prozac!  It helps to quickly identify what is out of your control, in your sphere of influence or in your control. 

Draw the above model on a flip chart or whiteboard.  Take five minutes to have a discussion about the following:


  1. What happens when we focus on situations that are out of our control? Write them down in red texta on the model.
  2. What happens when we focus on situations that we can influence? Capture this in blue texta in the model.
  3. Thirdly, what happens when we focus on what is in our control? Capture this in green on the model.

Quickly it will become apparent that focusing on situations that are outside of our control is insanity, causes anxiety, damages self esteem and confidence and a no brainer – is not a sound strategy. And yet, because we are human we do this – a lot!

Now draw a new blank model, assess each item quickly on the Post-it notes and place them where you feel it goes on the model (out of control, sphere of influence or in control).  Ask the team to do this quickly.

You may find that there are many duplicates, add them on top of each other, this will give you an indication of where the team are collectively feeling the most stress.

Once this is done, have a discussion and check in with the items in ‘out of control’.  The aim of this is to firmly establish what is out of your /the team’s control not to move everything into ‘sphere of influence’ or ‘in control’.

Now, reflect on what happens when we focus on what’s out of our control and agree that the items in this section are something you can not to anything about and let them go.

Look at the remaining items in ‘sphere of influence’ and ‘in control’ and create a plan /timeline on how you will work through these.  

Once the how has been worked through with timelines to further lock in clarity and accountability use the RACI model which will lock in clarity and accountability helping you all finish strong.   

This YouTube video explains the RACI model and you can download a template from http://sixsigmatutorial.com/what-is-raci-download-raci-rasci-matrix-templates-six-sigma/141/

Wishing you a calm exit as you move towards celebration during the holidays!

Pollyanna Lenkic is an author, coach, and speaker who works with leading organisations. Her structured approach delivers an uplift of 25% in team performance. To work with Pollyanna go to her website. 






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