By Laurie Guest
Does lack of consistency and low productivity impact your work environment? How? What tools have you tried to get back on track?
During my days of managing others, there were three specific techniques I used to help people be more consistent and productive that are worthy of sharing.
Weekly meetings with a notebook in hand
Hallway management can get you in trouble fast. You’re walking down the hall, you see someone you manage, and you stop them with an instruction. They listen, nod, and then you both continue on your way. With no formal interaction, with no chance for the employee to document the new information, and with no paper trail to prove you even informed him or her of the information, it is likely the instruction is lost. Also, with this type of management, the only time employees get audience with you is when they knock first.
Consider instead quick, formal, one-on-one meetings on a regular basis. The employee comes with a notebook or an electronic device for documentation. The bullet points of the meeting are written down, decisions made, dates and deadlines added, and then both people sign off on this document when the meeting is over. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s consistent.
Figure out your MBAs
Also known as your “making bank activities,” we all have tasks we do during the course of a day that make us feel productive but likely don’t lead to increased revenue or decreased expense, which are two things that lead to profit.
One time, I made a list of all the things I’d already done during the day just so I could use my trusty highlighter to cross them off the list. What a waste of time that was! But it sure made me feel a sense of accomplishment. However, it wasn’t an activity that helped me make bank.
Make a list of your daily activities that provide the best results to meet your goals. Put them in a priority order and then be consistent in attending to those things first.
If you have support staff that will handle some of these things for you, you have time to concentrate on other things. Evaluate whether those other things that you’re doing are a good use of your time and whether they make you more productive.
Adopt a one-pass system
This concept comes from my medical office days. My doctor had a philosophy that directly impacted his level of success: using a one-pass system as much as possible. That means he would touch a file one time, complete everything that was necessary, and then pass it along to the next staff person who needed the file.
He would not allow a stack of charts to sit in a pile, waiting on answers to questions. He felt that a lot of time was wasted shuffling papers around. I bought into the same philosophy in my office. When I’m self-disciplined enough to follow my own rules, it makes a huge difference.
When the task comes in, take action on it immediately all the way to completion whenever possible. That means all the way to the cabinet and its proper resting folder. Touch it once. Finish, file, and put it to rest. If it needs further action, then properly document, set the ticket reminder and the system that works for you, and then store it where you can find it until the earliest possible time that you can resolve the task. It works like a dream even if you are not paper-based and everything is electronic.
For more consistency and increased productivity in your workplace, initiate formal one-on-one meetings on a regular basis, concentrate on activities that lead to increased revenue and decreased expense, and adopt a one-pass system to complete tasks.
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