Thursday, 30 August 2018

Do you want to be right, or get results?



Isn't that a question to get you thinking?

I speak to lots of people that get stuck in this dynamic. They know what is right and they stick to their guns, but (occasionally) at the cost of not getting the results they wanted.

Getting results often means that you have to do things that you think that someone else should do, or in a way that isn't 'perfect' in your eyes in order to see the results that you want.

Have you been guilty of being stuck in this mode from time to time?

Getting results doesn't mean that you have to do someone else's work, rather that you put your pride to one side and perform tasks that you could consider as being beneath you for a short period of time.

A perfect example of this was when I recently had to get some stickers cut to size and no one wanted to undertake the task on the team I was working with; they all turned their noses up at the idea. However, the stickers had to be resized to prove that the imaging system on the new stock control system would work in their environment. It was a ten minute task with a pair of scissors to allow a one week trial to initiate.

They could have sourced a member from an administrative team to perform this task, but from experience with this client it would have taken a few weeks in order to get the work queued up. That's life and we could have either lived with this fact (and been 'right') or we could suck it up and get on with a pair of scissors for ten minutes... Leading by example, I started it and someone else finished it. The trial was immediately successful and we got the results that we needed.

As I said before, this is not about doing the work of someone else. Going back to this example, now that we have the sticker size sorted out from our trial we can now specify exactly what we need to implement and this has now been scheduled for a member of staff to complete over the next couple of weeks. What we didn't do is wait weeks and weeks and weeks only to have minutes of work completed that would have killed the momentum of the change we are implementing if we had waited.

Sometimes, when you hit a sticking point on an improvement project, you need to ask yourself if you are being right or getting results. If you find yourself slowing down on a point of principle it is worth challenging yourself to see if there is an alternative route you can take.

Keep the momentum going!

Giles


About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.


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Thursday, 9 August 2018

Are your reporting lines helping your business to become more productive?

Do your reporting lines help you to become more productive?

It is question that appears to be rarely asked. Reporting lines exist for most businesses, but to directly increase productivity?

Organisation hierarchies are often thought through with a great deal of care. What isn't considered as thoroughly is how the objectives of the management team are cascaded and how the reporting of critical information is handled.

 A Simple Feedback Loop

The sketch below depicts this consideration:
In this model the manager clearly articulates the objective, goal or target that they need their team member(s) to achieve. The objective should help the business to increase its performance - including its effectiveness and productivity.

The team member communicates the relevant information to the manager at agreed intervals to the level of detail that has been agreed.

Formal reporting can take a number of forms, including:
  • Written reports
  • Meetings
  • One to one catch ups
  • Visual management boards

A Cause and Effect Twist

The twist that makes this consideration particularly interesting is when you include the small, routine, tasks that often get overlooked (that is until something more fundamental breaks in the business!). 

Building in these small tasks is all about understanding cause and effect thinking and ensuring that all of the causes of success and performance for your business are locked into a formal reporting line of some kind. Getting the small things right can lead to higher levels of productivity as they are often the building blocks for the more visible and tangible activities of a business.

Don't leave your business' performance to chance, think through what the key tasks that your team need to complete in order to achieve their objectives and help them to report their feedback to you in a way that takes very little time and effort.

Spending lots of time producing reports that you don't have the time to read in the first place is a really bad way to apply this idea. Think light, easy and effective and you will be on the right tracks.

Can you apply this idea to your business and increase your productivity through better reporting?


Giles



About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.


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