Michael Dolan has a great article at David Allen's Coach's Corner entitled, The Impact of GTD on Groups (I would strongly encourage you to add this feed to your RSS reader if you haven't already). Dolan's point is that when groups collectively implement GTD, "they typically experience benefit in three key areas: Accountability, Focus, and Adaptability."
Oddly enough, I initially adopted GTD for myself for precisely this reason. Having left a church planting endeavor that lacked these elements in the realms of direction, organization and implementation, I saw the team-unifying potential of GTD-- especially for church planters and pastors.
Here is how Dolan sees the benefits of collective implementation paying off for groups:
It’s amazing what happens in a team when there is a high degree of trust and accountability among teammates. When you drop a request in your teammate’s in-box, you want to be sure that it will be handled with the appropriate level of attention and in an appropriate time-frame. And you probably want to be darn sure that it doesn’t fall through the cracks. If you’ve ever left a meeting not quite sure who’s supposed to be doing what next, then you’ve experienced one of the most typical side-effects in the slippery slope of inconsistent accountability.
Implementing GTD enables people to be more responsible about tracking the agreements that they’ve made, and as a side-effect, more judicious about what they agree to in the first place. When these effects become ingrained as part of the culture of the organization, managers and teammates can have peace-of-mind that what needs to happen will get done. And when teammates share a similar approach to how they manage their commitments, the process of delegating work and giving feedback can become more transparent and more effective.
Have you ever had the experience of having a conversation with someone who was so distracted that it seems like they weren’t even listening? It’s no wonder. Our digital age has given us the blessing and challenge of a torrent of emails, blogs, websites, and RSS feeds with which to keep up, and an ever increasing availability of data to explore. It’s as if we’re living in an age of constant partial attention. When this disease of partial attention infiltrates an organization, it can be near impossible to get anything meaningful done.
One of the core practices of GTD is to get all of the things that have your attention out of your head and into a system you can trust. This allows your psyche to forget about all of the other things you could be doing, and instead, fully focus its energy on that which is most appropriate. When an entire team is focused, results happen faster and with less stress.
While organizations and teams must be focused in order to achieve results, they must also be adaptable enough to change course if need be, sometimes at a moment’s notice. Surprises happen. And like a huge battle-ship, the larger the organization, the more power that is needed in order to change course. Too much unchecked momentum can be a handicap.
When individuals are implementing the practices of GTD, they have a greater sense of perspective and control as they move through their day. This leads to an increased ability to handle surprises, and react accordingly. When an entire team is up and running on GTD it is much more likely that they can adeptly adjust to whatever surprises are thrown their way with less stress and more clarity.
We like to use the analogy of the martial arts. If you are truly a black-belt, you will always react to new information, requests, or surprises in the most appropriate way. When something new happens, do you drop everything immediately and engage? Or do you note it and move on? Knowing how to react depends on your level of awareness, perspective, and control. When these qualities are developed on an organizational level your company can move beyond just reacting to the latest and loudest, and shift into a new level of focused productivity.