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Showing posts from April, 2011

Business Efficiency? Try Effectiveness first.

One of the popular terms we hear is about increasing efficiency for organisations. Many public sector bodies are tasked with 'efficiency gains'. Businesses need to be efficient, but raising effectiveness naturally drives up efficiency. So why don't we start there instead?
Firstly, we can be efficient at the wrong things! Looking for efficiency savings typically means that we look to become better at the things that we do. Some tasks (or functions) could be removed meaning that the resources don't even have to be deployed - an instant efficiency gain.
More effective means less of the unnecessary. We can redesign how we operate and take out the elements that don't help our cause. There are some things that help our customers and some things that are there for some historical reason. Some things we have to do in order to get our job done, we can look at changing how we work so that these tasks can be removed over time.
Effective systems remove delays and errors - a m…

Less theory and more action

There is so much information available on how to make changes work that it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start. There are internet chat forums stuffed full of people trying to work out where to start. We can get tied up with the perfect application of theory, so perhaps it would be best to give ourselves a cut off point and just get started.
Waiting for the perfect plan is never a good option. There will always be another perspective or another viewpoint that will alter your plan. Having a considered plan that will give great results implemented is far better that waiting for the 'perfect' plan.
To compound this, there will always be something new appearing to distract you from making changes. There will always be a new technique to confound your plans. Whether the technique is really new, or a repackaging of a previous tool / set of tools is irrelevant, more techniques do not lead to more results.
Too much information can also cause confusion. If you are consta…

Do less better

We have so many options to choose from when it comes to improving our business. One of the most amazing things to happen however is that nothing gets done.Focus is the key and by doing less better you can get so much more done.
There is a Chinese proverb “if you chase two rabbits, both will escape”. When we focus we increase the likelihood that we can get a project or task to completion. We gain momentum and we are able to complete more projects in the same period of time than if we applied a shotgun approach.
Efficiency increases when we focus on single improvements, we don’t have to remember where we got to on the project, we are always up to speed and therefore we don’t waste time trying to work out where we need to be.
Decision making becomes simple when there is only one focus. We can discriminate easily and our choices always support getting the job done. When we choose only one thing to focus on we improve our chances of getting results. This of course doesn’t mean that you st…

Make Use of Parkinson’s Law

If you haven’t come across Parkinson’s Law it is “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” You have probably seen this in action in a variety of situations, but not usually in your favour. We can however use this principle to drive up our improvement effectiveness and our overall efficiency.
If we split our tasks into two groups we can use this law to great advantage. The first group would be tasks that will advance our cause, system changes or creating new methods of running our businesses. The second group would be day-to-day activities, including project tasks of a more general nature.
If work expands to fill the time available then by giving less time to the second group of tasks we find ourselves with a potential efficiency gain, we will be able to get more done in a shorter period of time. We must, however, take care not to give too little time to the second group of tasks as then they simply won't get done.
Likewise we can use the first part of ou…