We are living in interesting times. Get over it. They will become increasingly interesting as time progresses. At some point they will become unbearably interesting and then we will have disruptive change. Until then, we need to make do with manageable change in the name of cost cutting. Many people talk about it and some companies and organizations pull it off but in their majority, small and medium companies get carried along by the current of everyday activity. At some point some people decide to look up from the task in front of them and take in what’s happening in their environment. If they are lucky they see the signs and avoid the rapids. Others spot, too late, that low branch or experience (too late) that feeling of nothingunderneathusness as they go over the waterfall.
So what is the underlying message? Just because you are keeping busy doesn’t mean you are being productive. Getting stuck in denial gets you stuck in outdated practices. Getting stuck in outdated practices will get you killed. From a business perspective. So what to do? The key is at the end of the previous sentence: “?”. Start questioning things. Why do you do whatever it is you are doing? Why are you targeting this customer and not that one? Why do you have “x” employees working on “this” activity. I may be repeating myself but, after all, isn’t that what best demonstrated practices are about?
So take an analytical look at everything that goes on in your company. Remember you are paying for it. Even if you don’t see an invoice for the specific activity, item or action you are paying for it. So do you really need it? Is this the best way to do it? Nine times out of ten the answer is NO. There is always a better way. So stop doing things that are not adding value to your company. These are the things your customer would not be willing to pay for. Like that expensive chair you love so much and which inspires you to better the service you provide. Try putting that on an invoice and sending it to your customer. Don’t want to? What else are you doing that you are not proud of? Duplication? If your process is not worth presenting at a conference and bragging about its benefits, you should probably be redesigning it. Look up process improvement. Start small. Mini projects with achievable goals, aimed at making your customer happier. Happy customers come back. This should be your goal in life. Which process would you not like to describe to an expert on the subject? Use the gourmet approach: you sniff and if you can’t put your finger on the ingredient you try to link it to the memories it brings to the forefront. If you can’t put your finger on what’s wrong with a process, use a similar approach. How does it make you feel? Safe? Happy? Proud? Shocked? Afraid? Very afraid? Then go and dig deep and don’t stop asking why until the answers you are getting are making sense to you. Do this often and for all departments and aspects of your business. How much are you paying for “X”? Why are you buying it in the first place? Is it adding value to you offering? Is John in Accounts adding value to your offering. And so on.
Start asking. Otherwise you won’t get any answers.