Monday, November 12, 2007

Top 5 Series - Actions that make a Difference

I have been humbled. Left without internet access, I missed posting Friday as I had promised and apologize for the lack of continuity. Thanks to a(nother) broken water main in our community, we were left without water for 5 hours over the supper hour this evening. Those broken mains, and our short drought, serve to remind us just how indulgent we can be with water, how much we take it for granted and how hard it is to find drinking water in some parts of our world. To follow up from last week, here are five things to do to get your business more organized on your strategic objectives.

1. Make your Mission and Goals as clear as water itself. Once they are established, make sure every employee knows what they are and how their role contributes to accomplishing those goals. Consider taking a page from Brian Scudamore’s journal at 1 800 Got Junk where the company goals are written right on a wall in letters large enough to read across the room. Everyone in the office can see where the company focus is, and whether or not the goals have been reached. Everyday a team meeting is held to report on the indices related to those goals so that everyone is clear where they fit in and how their work contributes to the results.

2. Commit to focus and organization at an executive level. Whether it’s clearing your own clutter, improving your time management, setting up a central filing system or establishing a corporate declutter session, commit to the process and demonstrate the behaviour. In ten out of ten businesses I’m ask to assist to streamline and declutter, the only businesses that are successful are those with a senior management team that commits to the process.

3. Establish storage and retention policies and ensure that staff uses them. This is particularly important for staff who have been in a position for a lengthy time (years) and those that have recently taken over a role from another employee. Are their files up to date both electronic and paper? Have they reviewed their predecessor’s files and do they know what’s there? Do they regularly purge paper and e-files? Is their office littered with material unrelated to their role or the company’s business?

4. Review carefully any space requirement and insist on a clear out session before the request is approved and, more importantly, acted upon. If you have recently approved a space or storage request, do you know for sure that you are approving additional cost, as more space and storage will incur cost, for material that is consistent with your company’s goals and objectives? Or, have your employees given up on trying to pear down and instead spend their time managing the paper and unnecessary tasks rather than on behaviour to advance your strategic directions.

5. Manage the disorganized employee. If organization is an expectation of employees in order that they contribute to the strategic directions of the company than ensure they get that message. Set goals, set limits and follow up. A disorganized employee drains dollars from your business. Tardiness, unfinished work, redo’s, reprints all cost money. When that disorganization goes unchecked, you are sending a loud message out to the rest of your employees that clarity, focus and resource accountability are values that are not supported by you or your company. If you don’t care, why should they?

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