Posted on March 28, 2013 by Keith
Some days it’s a pretty easy thing to crank out three or four hundred words here in the screed. Other days it’s a struggle and today is one of those days. Oh sure, there is plenty of research to write about and a few stupid business tricks about which I’m aware, but I’ve noticed you guys tend not to read the research-oriented posts (there will be fewer) and the stupid stuff the businesses are doing isn’t really taking the idiocy to a new level. So I’m kind of stuck here at word count zero.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Maybe it’s a good day to write about inspiration vs. preparation. I try to be prepared by clipping articles I think might provide good fodder for the screed on those days when the inspirational spirit is weak. The process is one that many businesses use in product development Find something that’s interesting, add your own twist (hopefully making it better in the process) and market the heck out of it. The articles I’ve got clipped are fine but my own twisted thoughts seem to be lacking.
Maybe it’s a good day to write about that there’s not a lot to write about. Businesses seem to be in a rut – there’s a lot of more of the same but not a lot of innovation. Perhaps that’s because we’re finally on a more sound economic footing and business is getting a chance to see what works in a more normal economic environment.
Maybe it’s a good day to wish one of my dearest friends a happy birthday and write about how the lessons I’ve learned from our relationship over the last 20 or so years have helped me be better at business. Too many of us tend to think that personal and business behavior should be different. Not me. In part that’s because he’s helped me to understand that people who are nice to you in a restaurant (business) and nasty to the servers (personal) are going to turn on you as soon as they no longer think you can help them. All too true.
Then again, maybe I’ll expand each of those thoughts later on. In the meantime, we’re done here today unless you have something to add. Do you?
Filed under: Thinking Aloud | Tagged: business, Business and Economy, business thinking, writing | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 14, 2012 by Keith
Every manager I know – heck, every business I know – is having to do more with less.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fewer resources. Fewer people. Hopefully not fewer consultants! That means that every person on staff needs to be more productive. Productivity is one of those tricky numbers – it’s a ratio of output to input – that seems more attuned to an industrial age than to a time when the world is moving to an information-based economy. Still, one thing I speak with clients about all the time are results – key performance indicators, things we can measure to gauge our progress. Sometimes I even get paid based on those productivity measures so I’m very focused on improving them.
One thing I’ve found is that we sometimes confuse putting out more with making more value. I think many of the technological innovations which we enjoy these days were originally designed to help improve our ability to be productive. In fact in many ways I think they had the opposite effect. We’ve become tools of our tools. For example many years ago when I began in business I was very careful about how I wrote each and every document because someone would have to type that document and if we needed to make changes we had to retype the entire thing. Once word processing became the norm it was very easy to make revisions. In theory we could put out the document more rapidly since changing a word didn’t mean retyping everything. The reality is that we spent a lot more time focusing on formatting – how the document appeared – and making little changes – a word here and there – because we could. We didn’t think through what we were saying before we started to write. I’m not sure we became all that more productive.
Email is another tool that should make us productive but has the opposite effect in many cases. It’s easy to add recipients to a chain and everyone seems to want to weigh in. What could be a 5 minute hallway conversation turns into an 8 hour chain of notes. We’re less productive.
I advocate doing less to be more productive. Send less email (but have more face to face conversations). Don’t respond to every note unless it’s directed to you. Don’t multitask – finish one thing before starting another. Trust your staff and delegate. Spend more time on the 20% that produces real value and less time on the other 80%. Maybe even pretend that a lot of the “productivity tools” don’t exist. What are your productivity secrets?
Filed under: Thinking Aloud | Tagged: business, Business and Economy, business thinking, KPI, life, life lessons, managing, Performance indicator, Productivity, Strategic management, Time management | Leave a Comment »