Beware of Your Red Flags
I remember when I worked at a company whose attitude was,
‘if it ain't broke, don’t fix it’.
They were really good at getting things done, but no longer remembered why they did things a certain way. My reputation of asking a lot of questions to understand current operations is infamous among my colleagues. You can probably imagine how many times I heard ‘that is the way it has always been done’.
Brace yourself, but this is usually a sign or red flag that you have waste and inefficiencies in your processes. One executive shared with me that she thought I was disappointed with how they did things, but my biggest disappointment wasn't their processes but instead the complacency around it.
I get it - everyone was really busy trying to perform each day while working really hard to please their customer or meet that desired goal. As a result, the team was so mired in the work details, that they didn't have the luxury to lift out of it to assess whether a few changes could improve their situation. Perhaps, they thought their only solution was technology. On the other hand, maybe they just didn't understand what benefits they could realize by improving their processes without technology.
Why does that matter?
If you are asking this question, then I am happy to share just a few bullet points below to help.
What can I do? - Ask questions! – Of course, I would say that.
Ask your customers (internally or externally) about the challenges they are having with your output. What do they do with those reports you send every month? Why do you need it so often? Who else sees it? How did you use the output last month? The answers they give you should help you get a sense of what is really going on. Once you understand why they need your output, you can begin to figure out how to continuously optimize it. This conversation should be revisited on a periodic basis so that you don’t slip back to your old habits.
Ask your team members for their input. Do you know why you are doing this? What else can we do? How can we do this quicker? I used to sit with my team periodically to listen to their ideas. You will hear all the reasons why you can’t do something until you change the question to find illicit responses about what can be done.
Sometimes, a little change can go a long way (with or without technology), so watch out for the red flags and don’t do it the way you always have, take a chance!
Your benefits are awaiting!
Blog dated 29/05/2018