Sunday, March 29, 2009

Efficiency - The Autobahn, part 1

The “Autobahn”! Most of you have heard about it, some of you have even driven on it.
It’s the net of Interstate Highways that crisscross Germany. At one time there wasn’t even a posted speed limit.

Now, large parts of it, especially those close to the more populated areas, have speed limits posted and enforced. And on the one’s that have no speed limits posted (yet), the traffic is at times so crowded, that you do not dare to “put the pedal to the metal”.

If that’s what you’d like to do, though, then you have to know where and when to drive.

Well, why am I writing about the Autobahn when this is about efficiency? It’s because I’m using the Autobahn as an analogy and I want you take a look at your desk (and your computer!) and get the idea that this is your personal “Autobahn”:

It should be clutter free so your traffic can flow along freely and quickly.

Let’s say you have two lanes moving in one direction and you have a Porsche in your left lane and a Truck in your right lane.

While there are a few major differences between these two, the one most notable difference is in speed. Your Porsche is a lot faster than your Truck.

What does that mean?

It means that you have Porsches and Trucks on your desk and you need to know which ones are the Porsches and which ones are the Trucks.

You Porsches are the communications that usually are awaiting a quick answer, like which pricing formula do you want me to use for this proposal, etc. Someone is waiting for a response and is stopped in what they are doing, for example.

Your Trucks, on the other hand, are the projects that just move along (unless there is a very short timeframe involved).

Your Porsches stay in the left lane, i.e. they are addressed first! Your Trucks, on the other hand, stay in the right lane, i.e. they are addressed after the Porsches are done.
As long as it’s done that way, your traffic moves with optimum speed across your desk.
However, when a Truck is allowed in the left lane, ALL traffic now moves slowly.

Now, your Porsche might get a flat tire (you have called a client and he’s not available right now, but will get back with you later the same day). In this case you have to move the Porsche onto the shoulder (the area designed for emergency stopping only). This means your desk has to have a shoulder (a basket designated specifically for that purpose) and only the stopped Porsches go there. You know that when your client calls you back that this is the only place you have to look for his paperwork. Easy!

Now, when you have to stop working on a Truck (a project), can he be moved onto the shoulder? NO! Parking is illegal on the shoulder. He needs to get OFF the Autobahn and into a parking lot. This is a specific area off the desk designated for the storage of projects only. This might be a hanging file or a set of hanging files specifically and only for projects or a basket placed on a shelf, etc.

The whole message here is:
Know what are your Porsches and what are your Trucks and don’t mix them up.

Safe driving!

Next time I’ll get into the rest of the traffic on your Autobahn…


Lori said...

Very cool! When I get involved with the Trucks the Porsche definitely go into the garage bay, waiting for parts! :) When I work drive the Porsche the trucks get rusty! Balance, balance! :) Lori

Theta-Tom said...

Gerhard---why do I feel like you are talking directly to me? Ha! Ha!
I am moving faster & more freely now. I like it!

Thanks & Love,

Tom Little Founder---"ECLECTICA!" The new Magical-Music-Magnificence!
And "TLC INTERNATIONAL" "World Peace Through Artists!"

David J. said...

Excellent analogies and data, well done!

Doug said...

Great analogy! Love Porsche's as well.

Deanna Meske said...

This was great! Thanks. I immediately cleaned up my desk and decided which was my porch and which were my trucks, now I gotta work on the shoulder! So much more fun when you make it a game!!!

David Sanders said...

Great insight! I like it and I'll use it in my business - and also in my consulting work with advising clients.
All the best,
David Sanders, CEO
Creative Business Strategies, Inc.

Anonymous said...

Great analogy! I'm all for speedier, uncluttered traffic.
Thanks for making it simple.
Barbara Miller

Loren said...

Being a Porsche on the Autobaun of life is better than being a truck. Keeping the Porche running and on the road requires regular service and knowing the owners manual so you can stay off the shoulder and find the fast lane.

Loren Ransier