Smooth Operators: Tips for More Effective and Efficient Workdays
Remember when you were just starting your company or small business and everyone’s involvement was not only welcome but also integral to your combined success? But now that you’ve reached that level of success, your team members have other, more specific responsibilities they should focus on.
Whether your company has three members or 300, the processes designed to ensure proper functionality of the team as a whole may now be getting in the way. And that affects not only the daily progress of your employees, but also your bottom line.
Here are three of the biggest time-wasters and company momentum-killers you should be on the lookout for, and some suggestions for putting them in their proper place!
Too Many Chiefs
One of the most problematic, albeit well-intentioned, areas of company process is redundancies in managerial and supervisory positions. Although it may be nice to have six different people checking behind each other, it’s not only wasteful of time and resources, it’s also disheartening and confusing to the employees they oversee.
One time when the “multiple managers” scenario may be helpful is to allow for employee coverage while the other is on vacation. After all, everyone needs to get away from work for a little R&R every once in a while, and a good way to provide this for your team is to have a fully-apprised surrogate ready to step in to relieve the other.
In the same way that it is wasteful to have several supervisors responsible for the same area, it is inefficient to require recurring meetings when there is nothing new to discuss or no new material to cover.
When you think about: a) how difficult it is to stop right in the middle of a thought or task, and b) how much time is wasted when an employee decides he will not be able to complete the task before the meeting, so he will postpone starting the project and surf the net instead – it becomes much easier to decide to only call the entire team to the conference room (or conference call) when warranted. Efficient workdays are those when everyone is able to get their work done– not when everyone is stuck in the conference room for the sake of consistency.
In addition to regularly-recurring group meetings, group discussions via email can be either helpful or wasteful depending on the circumstances.
Have you ever wanted to say “This is an A and B conversation, so CC your way out of it?!” After all, the only reason many people are included in email conversations through CC (even more so with the BCC) is to cover someone’s behind.
Before including the entire floor in a simple email about a task or project, decide whether that person needs or wants to be included in the first place. The fewer people included, the more time saved by not forcing them to read long chains and repeated back and forth replies that do not directly involve them.
Instead, only include others as needed. For example:
- When you need to pass off a task to them and having information on the project as a whole will be helpful;
- When you need their assistance with a question or something within their realm of expertise and a bit of background will get them up to speed on the incorrect answers you have already considered and discarded;
- When you have an external issue with a client, customer or vendor, etc. and drawing them into the mix is the necessary next step for company liability/legal purposes.
One additional note on the CC problem involves “admission by omission” of a party. Say there are 16 replies to a chain (with as many people included via CC) and reply number 12 just happens to have an important piece of information buried in the fourth line of the sixth paragraph.
Normally, if the CEO of the company had received that information directly, it would have been addressed immediately (especially if there are legal implications in the statement), but since she stopped reading eight emails ago, the fact that she hasn’t responded might lead someone to believe that she agrees with the statement. She has arguably “admitted” the statement because she didn’t deny it.
At the end of the day, to make things easier and more efficient for everyone, it is just a better practice to include conversation participants only when they are needed.
What are some other ways you have been needlessly involved in company process? How do you make sure your company has efficient workdays?
About the Author
Anton Pomakov is the Senior Vice President for Marketing at Dallas-based Silverleaf Resorts, Inc. where he manages marketing development, operations and business growth initiatives. He has spent his entire career as a professional in the hospitality industry, leading marketing and management teams with a goals-based approach to improving customer experience and the bottom line. Follow Anton and Silverleaf Resorts on Twitter @SLResorts.
Image via Flickr