Sunday, February 21, 2010

Efficiency – The “Autobahn” Part 3

Once in a while (and sometimes even more) there is a Formula One racecar that shows up on your desk. You need to realized that this type of vehicle is illegal on the Autobahn and therefore also on your desk.

This can happen in two different ways:

First, here is the person that comes into your office to chat while you are trying to get your work done. He is not at his area to do his job and is now actively trying to prevent you from doing yours.

Your dilemma is to get him out of your office so you can get your work done. While this might take some diplomacy, you need to be firm on the use of your production time (and his also!).

And second, this is someone else’s work, his job or even problem that’s being unloaded on you. Here you have a co-worker that comes to you and asks,
a. ‘Can you do this, I don’t know how….’, or
b. Tells you that he can’t come in on Friday (your really busy day).

What is happening here? In both cases someone gave you his problem and it’s up to you to take it and make it your problem – or not.

If you take that problem and make it your own then you are now using your own valuable time to address and handle someone else’s problem instead of using your time to address your own work load.

This is not efficient and is a big time and money waster.

Yes, it makes us feel important when someone comes to us and tell us how good and smart we are by stating in more or less direct ways that only we know how to….

But what about your own work? What about the new product line you’re supposed to get ready for marketing? What the about the sales opportunities you are missing because you’re now working on someone else’s problem?

Again, this is not efficient and is a big time and money waster!!!

How about handling it in such a way that it is a positive experience for all involved? Where in the end you have a more competent co-worker? Wouldn’t that be better?

Ok, then here is what you need to do:
You give the problem back to the other person while acknowledging that there is a problem and letting him know that you want to help him with it.

You instruct your co-worker to write down what the problem is, to be specific. And to work out how he things he could get that problem solved without offloading it onto you. And to write that down also.

He can then just do it or turn his write-up in to you for review and approval. Based on your knowledge and experience you can see whether this would work or if there’s something missing. If something is missing, point this out to the person and get him to fix it, otherwise give him ok to go ahead.

You also tell him that the reason you’re doing it this way is, because you have confidence in his ability to work it out and you know that this way he’ll become more competent and isn’t that what he wants, too?!!

This even works for the co-worker who’s not coming in on Friday. How can you make certain that your work gets done while you’re not here or what arrangements could you make so you could come to work?

This way the Formula One race cars appear less and less and you get your co-workers to think more and more in solutions instead of problems! A great question to ask is, “So, how could YOU solve / handle this yourself?”

Your job is it to address and solve the problem of your business, expansion, etc.

Your employees are there to help you with that and not the other way around. The lesser the amount of distractions you have, the better you are able to focus on you own work. And isn’t that what you want?

It just makes sense, doesn’t it?

Well, have fun with it.

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