What out-of-date processes have you
forgotten to notice?
By Robyn Pearce
How many of your staff are very busy doing paperwork which is no longer
I ran an extended time management programme with a rapidly expanding
and very successful international security company. One session focussed
on time challenges. A junior member of staff wanted help on how to reduce
the pressure of a routine data-collection and report-creation task, which
has been done by the company since Adam was a cowboy.
Almost by accident (except - there are no accidents!) instead of
focusing on how to improve the process, some very important questions were
- Why are we collecting this data?
- Where does it go?
- Who uses the information? It may have been useful when we were a
small company, but does this process still need to be done in the same
- Even if we continue part of the process, what shortcuts can we
Within 5 minutes, a whole new way of looking at the problem was created
- and the staff member's problem was solved in a way she'd never
What processes are done 'because we've always done it this way'?
Consider your own company, no matter what size.
- How many administrative staff beaver away, conscientiously
collecting data for reports that no one really needs?
- How many trees and hours go into those unnecessary reports?
- Even if some of the information is still necessary, what other
format could it be presented in? Could it be e-mailed as an
attachment, leaving those who really need the data to take
responsibility for running off a copy of the bits they need?
Tip No. 1 - Ask the newest person on the staff what time
savers they can see. Usually when someone's new they're reluctant to rock
the boat by making unsolicited comment. By the time they're confident
enough to say something about time-wasting techniques, they're moulded to
the culture and have forgotten their early wisdom.
Tip No. 2 - Think like a new person yourself. Go through
your office procedures with a 'Why do we do this?' mindset. I guarantee
that you'll find things to save time, money and resources on.
Tip No. 3 - If you're still challenged, bring in an
outsider to ask the questions and facilitate the thinking process. It
helps to take personalities out of the equation. After all, you may be
challenging something which very conscientious people have spent years of
their lives doing - just because 'it's the way we do it round here'.
About the author: Robyn Pearce, of TimeLogic
Corporation, has helped 1000's of folks in 'Getting a grip on their time'.
for FREE subscription to her email that includes "how-to"
practical time management assistance, books, tapes, products, and more.
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