Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
It’s easy to step back.
We can congratulate ourselves that business is humming along nicely, clients are happy and all systems are running smoothly.
But are they?
Just because people look busy doesn’t mean they are. Carrying a clipboard is a great way to look efficient, when the reality can be it’s just a mask for poor organisation and much time wasting.
A client of mine has had several people leave her business and she was worried about the workload this would leave her with. (They left for many reasons, and things can happen like this of course).*
When we dug into the workload it was obvious that some of it was over-work, where people were producing too many reports and not focusing enough on the essential items.
There were also inefficiencies due to the natural pace of people and how they disrupted eachother.
Some of the workload could be re-prioritised and a few items delegated to key managers.
The client realised that if she stepped in, took the reins back and held them tighter, she could halve the lost capacity.
Suddenly, what felt daunting now felt achievable.
I’ve experienced this myself. A colleague was doing 6 hours of work and when they left I found I could do it in 2. That 2 hours was available because I didn’t need to spend time checking his work. Made me realise that I probably should have stepped in sooner. We are human and not infallible.
And of course, when we are busy things can get ragged. We don’t notice the clipboard carriers, who although have good intentions, can distract us from what is actually happening.
It’s never easy when people leave, for any reason, and yet it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
We can step in, take a fresh look at what needs to be done and lead our business onwards.
There is a place and time to step back and survey our world. There is also a time when we need to step in and take action.
When you look around your business this week, where do you need to step in?
* This example has been anonymised. If you think you know the client, you really don’t!
It has been a busy time at Maun Towers and so I’ve allowed myself to not-blog for a while. I love my blog and yet there are times when it’s good to pause and allow life to flow and take some of the pressure off.
I hope you can do the same …not all tasks have to be completed all the time! We can all allow some things to ride for a while.
I consider this to be part of effective planning. Knowing what to do and what not to do is essential, if we are to keep the ‘vital few’ in sight not get swamped by the ‘trivial many.’
(Think Pareto analysis here, where 80% of the value is in 20% of the tasks).
If we don’t plan we get into a muddle. And if we get into a muddle our profits can sink.
And yet I’m always surprised by businesses that don’t plan effectively. I am always updating and refining my to-do list and without it I’d be lost.
We also need to be honest about our capacity and not over-plan. It’s too tempting to squeeze in another little job here and a few more emails there, without considering the impact on our already tight schedule of work.
Being optimistic is great and if we become blinded to reality then we are setting ourselves up for failure.
Which is why I’ve had a little blog pause. I know my capacity and when I’ve reached it I have to make some hard choices.
I’m not saying I always get it right, that would just sound smug and I’m human and fallible, as we all are.
However, I am aware that good planning is at the heart of all business success.
So, this week, whether you’re working at home or running a team in person, take a fresh look at how you plan:
1. Is your to-do list honest and has key tasks clearly marked?
2. Does everyone in your team have a to-do list that you agree with?
3. Is time being eaten by too many meetings, peppered throughout the day?
4. Did your team complete all their tasks last week? And if not, what needs to change so they’re back on track?
We can plan for profit and we can all be mindful that we are only human and have our limits.
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