No one intentionally gives birth to inefficiency, but it quickly happens when people do not actively adjust the mechanisms of the organization as things change. We’ve all had this happen to us: the one time report that takes forever to compile manually that suddenly needs to happen every month without automation assistance; etc. Eventually you realize that you’ve slowed down, your effectiveness and impact on the organization has lessened and, like quicksand, there is no apparent way to break free. These inefficiencies tend to create emergencies which further hamper your ability to focus on the most important issues.
Today’s world demands that everyone on your team be able to dedicate the majority of their energy towards creating value. The problem is that many organizations simply do not systematically address improving efficiency and productivity and as a result you fall further behind your competitors. Why? Each year you most likely give merit increases to your employees, inflation creeps up, and your competitors automate and engineer more efficient ways to do things. All of those things impact your relative productivity and, therefore, value in the eyes of investors.
Remember the three roles from my last post (value creators, value protectors, and required)? Every role, or job, has elements of them and the key is to help your employees maximize the time they spend creating or protecting value. Here’s a very high level outline of how I’ve helped other organizations make their employees more productive and happier.
- Start with a group within your organization that seems to be either frustrated, struggling to scale, or is going to be asked to do more in the future. They will have a motivation to rethink their function and their roles for maximum impact. Once they have success, another group will want to volunteer.
- Help them understand the big picture of your organization: strategies, key objectives, their role in achieving them, etc. Talk about what you’ll need differently from them going forward, and do it in a really positive, supportive way. If people think this is a way for you to eliminate their jobs it won’t work. If they believe you’re going to help them make a bigger impact on the team and enrich their jobs, you’ll have willing participants.
- Have the group rethink its main contributions to the organization and how to start / stop / refine processes or deliverables for most impact to the organization (as defined in #2). This involves employees analyzing how they spend their time, what their true role should be, and creating a project plan for putting these ideas into practice.
There is a ton of detail behind these three steps and I’d be very happy to do this for your organization.