Friday, 29 October 2010

Let them Play

Do you let your employees play?  On the Internet, for example .... or do you lock things down so they have to work, work, work.
We want our employees to work - but we want them to work productively. One way of doing this is to create parameters within which play (of some kind) is allowable - perhaps at lunchtime, perhaps on Friday afternoons, perhaps for 5 minutes every hour.
What 'play' can do is allow staff to recover and re-energise ... or deal with small domestic issues (like booking a plumber) that might be distracting them from their work.  If you don't give them 'playtime' they'll probably take it anyway - by working more slowly and less effectively.  
So, take control of that playtime - build it in safely into daily or weekly routines ... and then you both reap the benefits.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Be like a Boy Scout - Be Prepared

I often talk to students about their future careers - pointing out that almost everyone I know (or indeed have met) simply 'stumbles' through their career - very few can claim to have planned it.  What students are doing by getting educated is to increase the range of opportunites that thay can seize as they 'float by'.
This is exactly the same strategy adopted by good businesses.  They develop their infrastructure, their systems, their technologies and their people - so that they too are prepared for a wider range of opprtunities.  Some of these opportunities canot currently be foreseen or even imagined.  But the agile firm is ready when they emerge.
So think what you should be doing inside your copnany to make yourself better prepared to seize future opportunities.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Management by Walking About (but take a camera)!

MBWA - Management by Walking About - works.  If a manager walks his or her domain regularly - with eyes and ears truly open - he or she is likely to see and hear things that would otherwise go unnoticed. One way to enhance this process is to walk with a camera and take pictures of 'waste' and 'clutter'.  It is much harder for people to defend themselves when faced with a photo ... and much easier to show improvement if you take 'before' and 'after' photos.  Besides which, when you look through a camera lens - or at a resulting photo -you often see the world differently. You are more likely to see 'the truth'. When you simply walk past, even though you think you are looking, you often see what you expect to see ... or what you always see.
Depending on the relationship you have with staff, you can even open drawers and cupboards and take pictures.  You can then either insist people tidy up ... or ask them what they need in order to be more tidy - better filing systems, desk tidys, etc.
The aim is to make things accessible when needed - quickly and efficiently.

Friday, 8 October 2010

When you can't see it ....

Can you see knowledge?  Well, in the form of books, papers, etc ... I suppose you can.  But what about the output of your non-manual workers - the salesforce, R&D, designers, etc.  If we can't directly see their outputs how do we raise their productivity.

Well, sometimes we have to improve the processes they work with - and assume (as an act of faith) their productivity rises.

So make sure all your staff have the information they need to do their job, make sure they have the communications technologies they need ... and make sure they have the time to think, to interact, to learn and to grow.

Then sit back ... and think about the results in 2 or 3 years time!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Procrastinate .... properly

Is procrastination ever productive? Of course it is – when we put off something we shouldn’t have been doing at all.

So, next time you’re feeling really busy, think about what you might leave for another day … then think why you selected that item.Because its not urgent …. or not important? If its not important, could someone else do it instead of you – someone with more time … and who costs less.

It might cost you 2 or 3 minutes to work out whether something can be delegated or even ignored … but that’s a one-off time hit … and ever after you’ll be glad you took those 2 or 3 minutes.