I assume that you know people in your organization who are involved in everything and nothing. They run around from meeting to meeting and they receive all mail that is addressed to more than one person.
How do you find their effectiveness? I bet that you find most of them are not focusing on what you believe are the right things to focus upon.
The thing is that they do not focus on anything at all. It is pretty obvious that you cannot focus on everything. To focus is to look into one thing at a time with enough time allowed to accomplish it.
Too much to do within too little time creates split vision that can only end up in confusion. In a traditional line organization the issues that will be in focus are the ones that the level above you think that you should be focussing on. That is understandable as they are the ones that give you a raise or give you a scolding.
Unfortunately the customers’ will is often forgotten in these kinds of organizations. The further away you and you manager are from the customers the more introverted the demands of the focus be. Many times introverted focus will not give the customers an increased value.
This is common in large organizations, whilst smaller ones never forget that the customer is the most important thing in the business. The customer is always present somehow in everyone’s mind.
The suggestion that I have is that you understand and divide all your work, in your organization, into two general types: Project work and Process work.
The process work is work done repetitively, over and over again. It never ends, as long as you have the same overall mission. If you work for a university you will provide students with education, and all processes that are included in that mission. If you work in a grocery store you will provide food for the customers, as long as you have that as a mission.
The project work is work done once with the goal to achieve something specific, within a certain amount of time and for a certain amount of money. The work in the project ends when the goal is reached.
Work performed in a process follows the designed flow within the process. Work done within a project follows the project plan. Projects can be of different sizes and the smallest ones may only include you and maybe a colleague. Then you both manage the project and work within it.
I find that there are a lot of people who have a lot to do – but they never take the time to find out if it is a project or a process that they work within.
These people find themselves working with different things but they never get a clear view of how those things connect to a larger assignment. All those things that need to be done frustrate them, but as they do not see the big picture, they cannot affect the way they should be performed correctly.
To be able to perform well within a process, it should be well designed and those working within it should have the correct skills. If there are issues within the process, everyone should be able to suggest improvements. Some may be implemented directly and others need to be decided by the process manager.
It easier to talk about some issues within a process flow than to talk about the fact that a certain individual has too much to do. If we work with solving the issues as a group within the process, instead of different individuals, then we can help each other to solve them constructively.
If there are issues within a formal project, the project manager must be involved and might be constructing a new plan of the project. If the project is small, containing only you, then it is up to you to improve the work in order to reach the set goal.
I will cover more of that in a forthcoming article. Some advice, I will give you a tip, make list of things that you find that you have to do. Identify them as process work or project work. Then group them into different projects and different processes. If you do not have processes designed, write names anyway, make them up as far as it goes. That will give you a foundation for further improvement of your business.
When you have done this, there should not be any items on the list left, which are not divided into these types.
This is the first step to put yourself on top of your work. Stay tuned for the second tip.
To you and your business excellence!