So now you have your list, how can you get your “ducks in a row”, and have your business cranking up, and moving forward?
First you need to identify and eliminate “busy work”. What is busy work?
- Busy work is tasks that appear to be important, but add little or no value to a business.
- I see busy work constantly within my client’s businesses. What are examples of busy work?
- Team members who are disorganised, and work from memory. When pressed, and some rigour is applied to their tasks, then comments such as “this is the way I was taught”, “Trevor told me to do that” (when Trevor often left the business years ago, and was never in a position to train the role, much less train the person in the role)
- Less obvious, but just as common is the team member who refuses to plan their day, week or month, and who asks others for their opinion of what they should be doing
- Not identifying the benefits that a customer is looking for – rather answering client questions by reciting a list of features, and having no idea if the customer, or prospect either needs, or is interested in these features
- Reworking stemming from not performing a task correctly first time. This is hard to identify within teams with poor communication, and minimal customer feedback mechanisms, as the rework just looks like more work (and it is, that’s the problem)
Once “busy work” has been identified, it needs to be eliminated, but first, the business driver behind the need to eliminate “busy work” needs to be explained, by the leader of the business, or business unit, or team. Also, the fear of being “no longer needed” must be taken into account. The key point here is to emphasise to the person, or people concerned, that:
- The business needs to do more with the same resource
- To do that, “busy work” needs to be replaced by “effective work”
- There are any number of value added tasks that the business needs to complete, and reassure that any retraining required regarding new tasks will be provided
A great way to eliminate “busy work”, and keep it out of your business, is to:
- Have clear business processes defined and documented, and have these processes integrated into the core operational systems of the business, and also its IT systems
- Ensure that every role in the business has clear accountabilities, job descriptions, and “desk instructions”, so that as people leave and join the business over time, training is easier, and the new person’s productivity reaches an effective level more quickly.