I was talking to a business yesterday that stated 'you've got to make time for planning'. I agree, planning seems to be one of the first things to disappear when the going gets tough (perhaps read that as chaotic).
When you're new to a process it can sometimes be overwhelming to try and keep up with the waves of information that are coming at you. There are so many things to learn that you need to spend some time absorbing this information and try your best to keep up. Over time you learn the ropes and you find that you begin to master the process, so that you become the one at the front, the leader, who can then drive the process forward.
Another conversation with a client this week took me to a much visited place, the need to find out what is really going on . Assumptions can work wonderfully when they are applied to stable parts of the business, elements that are already well understood and in control. They don't work as well when they are applied to parts of the business that aren't in this position. They become guesses, and left for too long these assumptions can send your business off in an unwanted direction. As is usual with these situations, it is helpful to take a few minutes out of your diary to go and get some facts. It may also be useful to experience what it is that you need to better understand. Even just a few minutes can give you the correct information to make decisions with. Processes, and performance, change over time. It is worth taking just a few minutes periodically to find out what is really going on so that you can make better informed decisions. Giles Johnston Author of
In a previous post I referred to developing ‘housekeeping’ routines that can help keep your business data in tip top shape (allowing more effective operations to ensue). One question that gets posed to me when this approach is implemented is ‘how do you get people to take them seriously?’
One of the topics that I regularly write about is forming a structured and consistent approach to continuous improvement . There is a good phrase that can help you if you find that your improvement activities aren't where you want them to be: Are you doing it like you mean it?
When working with many of my clients I have to spend time with them initially to instill a degree of discipline and routine. If you've read my book ‘ Sunrise Meetings ’ then you will know exactly what I am talking about. This approach applies to any business type and on the way to the train station yesterday my taxi driver was talking about exactly this subject.
When implementing a business system, such as an ERP system , it is recommended that the maintenance of clean data is understood and defined. If you read my post about my parent’s fridge freezer then you will know about the long delay in receiving the product due to missing order information. Computer based systems work brilliantly when they are full of useful, relevant and accurate information. They don’t work as well when they have holes in their data. This is where the use of housekeeping routines can become really effective.
Over the Christmas my period I visited my parents. One of the discussions that came up was the long delivery time for a replacement fridge freezer that they had ordered online. As we were driving I spotted a store that belonged to this particular retail chain; we paid them a visit. It turned out that the delivery lead time is less than five days on average, so far my parents had waited over two months. The order my parents had placed was missing one piece of information and this had put the order into limbo. It was only after we made this enquiry that the missing piece of information was requested by the retailer. A two month delay for ten seconds of interaction!