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Good interruptions

Do you ever have those moments when you catch yourself going through the motions? Do you ever realise that sometimes you have done a days work and you don't quite know where the time has gone to? One of the hardest habits to form is the ability to stop what you are doing, before you are doing it, to work out the best use of your efforts. When we get a plan we have done the hard thinking work - haven't we? From observation and personal experience it is obvious how strong the pull to get on and do the work is compared to stopping and spending just a few minutes to ask questions like:  - what are the objectives that I need to achieve?  - what is the best approach to achieving the objectives? Just stopping and thinking about the work at hand can have a significant impact on the performance. It's worth a try. Doing it consistently however is another challenge! Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

Purging the brain

Have you ever spent your time concerned about how many things that you have to do and not knowing where to start? This is a concern that many of my colleagues and clients have experienced either recently or in the past few years. It is not a new problem. I remember reading a quote that stated 'it is better to have a short pencil than a long memory'. This is such a useful thing to remember when your head is buzzing with ideas. Write them down and then deal with them - one at a time. Of course, please make sure that the item with the highest payback is done first (payback against your values of course). So, in short, get it out of your head so that you can do something with it. Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

Get back up to 50000ft

Projects sometimes need to be reviewed in terms of their purpose. It is sometimes needed that we take a step back and see if we're going in the right direction. This is one of those terms that is often used - 'from 50,000ft'. However often it is used, it is still a really good way to look at the bigger picture, to step away from the day to day activity on the project and ask 'are we really doing the right things?' Projects do change. There are many things that can change; people, goals, resources, motivation. Regularly stepping back to check that these variables have not knocked the project off course is highly recommended. Have you stepped back recently? Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

Periodic improvement

When working with organisations of all different sizes, working in different sectors to instigate change it is quite often noticeable that many of them only start making changes when they absolutely have to. This then runs the risk of not doing the best work possible as time becomes severely restricted. On the other hand there are organisations that take the view that improvement needs to be done in a more continuous fashion. Continuous improvement is a term that relates to the smaller activities that build upon the current working structures that are in place. Periodic improvement in this context refers to organisations that schedule in time to look at working on the step changes that need to take place in order for the business to keep ahead of its competition and remain strong in the marketplace. Quite often the periodic improvement is based on the insights gained from the continuous improvement activity and therefore begs the question - "when is your periodic impr

Personal Agendas

The concept of personal agendas is often described in terms of motivation - what are people really trying to do whilst at work? How will their actions benefit them? However - there is another way to look at the world of personal agendas. You can use them for the benefit of the organisation by getting really focussed on what you need to get achieved in a short period of time. I'm not suggesting that people don't know what they should be doing, but rather this is an opportunity to re-focus your efforts so that you can get the most work done with the least amount of time and effort. Just affirming the right things that need to be done can help increase the productivity of a meeting (or a half morning on a project). Those next steps, once recognised, might help shorten the amount of time required to complete a task. Try it over the next few days and see what happens. Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'

The value of a day

Days pass so quickly and I'm sure that most of us have experienced the feeling when we realise that months have passed by and memories are a blur. But how valuable were those days to our business? From a lean perspective we can either spend our time on value adding activities, or on wasteful activities. Let me clarify - there are two types of waste: 1 - Things that just shouldn't be done (non-essential waste) and should be eliminated 2 - Things that must be done, but we don't get paid for doing them (essential waste) and should be minimised For example: Value adding activities - doing the fundamental work that our client pays us for Essential waste - strategic planning, HR, accounts, system development Non-essential waste - re-working documents, waiting, taking longer than necessary It is worth asking yourself from time to time - 'how valuable is this work that I am doing?' By understanding the payback that the work gives to the business we can craft

What's the current ROI?

When working on an improvement project it's recognised that we should know where we are in terms of becoming better off. Many times however it is apparent that the measures that would tell us how things are going are not in place. Agreeing what these measures are and how to record the right information is a skill that can make a huge difference to the business. More interesting than this is the fact that most organisations only measure external factors - which aren't always in our control. When you look at the business processes in terms of the internal and external measures you can develop a far more complete approach to managing performance. Review your performance indicators and see if you have got a good mix of external and internal measures. Smartspeed Consulting Limited 'For When Results Matter'