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Showing posts from February, 2008

Proactive work

When clients complain of having too much work to do, and too many distractions getting in the way of them doing the work I ask the following question.

"How much of your activity is spent on pro-active work?"

Many times it is the distractions that turn into big chunks of time that cause the problems and a simple realisation can change this situation.

Does the activity being undertaken help you to get where you are going to?

If the answer is 'no' then let's move on. Find a way to bring the conversation to a close. Find a way to avoid getting dragged into other people's responsibilities.

Find a way to get back onto proactive work.

Smartspeed Consulting Limited
'For When Results Matter'
www.smartspeed.co.uk

Productive time

Many people find that they have certain times in the day when they are better at doing certain things. Some times of the day are better for thinking, some for doing and some for talking.

My clients who get the most done (in a period of time) understand when these times of the day are and allocate their work activities to these slots.

If the afternoon is the best time to have meetings, then this is when they are scheduled for. This leaves the morning free to do their strategic work and report writing.

From my observations people usually have similar times of the day for doing things, but we never discuss it openly. Could it be that by having this chat with our teams we could find better ways to organise our working days and get more done in the same amount of time?

Think about your own situation and when you feel at your best for doing certain things. Then consider rolling this idea out once you have changed the structure of your day.

Smartspeed Consulting Limited
'For When Results Matte…

Mature options

When options are put forward to a business by eager people working within them many of the ideas don't see an implementation.

In my experience many of these ideas are thrown out because the organisation is not ready for them. Not that the organisation realises this - it's just another one of those things that 'we can't do at the moment'.

Some ideas are put to management teams that need an environment one or two steps higher than the organisation's currrent status. If you are faced with ideas that cannot be implemented in the near future take a moment or two to work out what gaps need to be bridged in order to see a situation that can accomodate these ideas.

In many cases it is only by working backwards that we can see the way forward. As we identify the steps that we would need to take to reach an objective we gain clarity of a route that can develop and improve the organisation.

Smartspeed Consulting Limited
'For When Results Matter'
www.smartspeed.co.uk

The formation

Whilst feeding some ducks with the end of a loaf of bread the seagulls descended.

They frantically flapped their wings as they tried to catch the bread I was throwing for the ducks.

After about half a minute I noticed that they were in a formation that moved together as the bread was thrown, with amazing coordination. This made me think about some of the organisations that I had observed over the years.

Departments that don't get on with other departments.

Departments that don't understand the other departments.

Departments that don't consider the other departments.

Organisations that have departments like these struggle and if they tried to get in the same formation as the seagulls would have bumped their wings within seconds and crashed into the water!

What are the relationships like between departments in your business - do they help deliver projects, products and services in an effective and efficient manner?

Smartspeed Consulting Limited
'For When Results Matter'
http:/…

Tiny steps

Many people have looked at the kaizen approach with disdain if they have experienced badly run improvement schemes at their place of work, but they are missing a trick if they do not consider the benefits of taking small steps.

When a large project or programme of improvement is broken down into the tiniest steps you find that the consumption of these steps becomes easier and easier. A certain level of discomfort is removed and then progress can start to be made.

This discomfort is often generated when large objectives are placed on the organisation - "how on Earth are we going to improve that much?" is a common thought - and then procrastination sets in.

If you find that your organisation is starting to struggle to make progress with improvement projects and it feels like you are going round in circles then consider breaking the start of the project down into really small chunks.

Let the people in the organisation complete the tiny chunks of work and then give them more and mor…