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Flow in the office

When paperwork piles up in the office it is usually pretty easy to spot (the desk looks less tidy for a start). When this pile up occurs on the computer system it is less obvious and appears to be less of a problem. This is until you need to find a file on the system and you find yourself trudging around the folders and files struggling to find a logical way to find what you want. Many organisations don't communicate where files are to be stored and as a result people lose time that could be used for more profitable activities. Information should flow around a business and not get stuck in the hands of a few people, or in intrays that help people to lose track of time. Find where your information gets stuck, and then re-design the way information flows - if you want a smoother running operation that is! Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

Who are the catalysts

It never ceases to amaze me when I visit different businesses how there is always a person or an area of a business that seems to get things done better and faster than other areas. Usually in these areas there is an attitude or approach that seems to differentiate it from the other parts of the business. Somehow this department has found a way to overcome their problems and is able to take in and spit out more work than the other areas. When you look into what has been changed or altered it is often something quite basic that most people just tend to live with. If we took this attitude to our other departments just think what it could do for the business. Find the catalysts in your business and get them to help you propogate improvement across the business. Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

A Flexible Middle

When faced with organising a schedule for a meeting or a project it is often quite amazing at how one of two things occurs: 1 - the agenda is tight and is never adhered to. 2 - the agenda is very loose and there offers little benefit. A third option is to have the start and finish determined (and hence tight) with the middle section of the activity 'loose'. Knowing clearly how the activity will begin and end is usually enough to run an effective session, if you add in some guidelines to the middle of the activity then you will more likely have the right balance of flexibility and structure to make the sesssion effective. Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

Allocate based on payback

One of my colleagues was talking to me about how time seemed to often slip away from them, and I can empathise with this situation. In fact, many of my clients complain about the lack of time that they have available to them. When we step back however and look at what time is being committed to we sometimes wonder what is really important to us. For each obligation we commit to we are choosing how effectively we use our time. Some of the obligations will have a great payback on the time that we invest. Some of the obligations will give us a poor return on the time that we invest. Before committing to an obligation, work out which category it falls into - high or low payback on the time invested. If you find yourself committing to too many low payback actvities then there may be some ideas and solutions waiting for you! Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'


One of my clients had a project that was not moving at a pace that they wanted or needed. Every week my client would ask his team ‘what has happened so far in the project?’. The answer was always the same - “we’re too busy to get around to the tasks”. This happened week in week out. Instead of letting this situation pass I asked them a series of simple why questions about the lack of progress. In every case the person being questioned found the conclusions weren’t as they had originally expected and were now in a position to complete the work. This was in addition to all of the other tasks they had to do. The following week we found a little bit of progress was made. The following weeks and months progress continued and before we knew it a number of projects were being completed. Question the first answer – it may be a symptom and not the cause. Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

The winding queue

The other day I was standing in a queue at my local post office watching the people in the queue complain about the slow pace in which it was moving. I had already noticed this. I then looked around to see what the staff in the post office were doing whilst this slow movement was taking place - they were not working on activities that would reduce the size of the queue! How funny I thought - most businesses would be using their resources to reduce the queues by flexibly deploying their resources to cope with the surge. Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

Not paying lip service

I had the luxury of visiting a company the other day who had made some superb changes to their business. It was the end of a project I had been working on and I agreed to arrange a factory tour for local businesses, and this was the company that I had chosen. There were many questions around the table from the people who attended and the main theme was 'what are you doing differently here compared to us?' Explanations of working practices were put forward and it was interesting to see the looks on people's faces when the generic answer was 'good management practice that we don't pay lip service to'. I think that sums it up for a lot of businesses. When things aren't going as well as planned it might be worth considering how much lip service is taking place in the organisation. Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'