By A.J. Titus
Productivity is something we’re hyper-focused on at Signarama. We set aggressive goals each year, and while some of them might be a stretch, we make every effort to achieve them.
The need for efficiency lies in the most vital aspects of an organization, and it’s critical to identify and eliminate inefficiencies throughout the year to meet these goals. It goes back to ensuring that you have processes in place to track what needs to be accomplished and prioritizing those tasks that have maximum value for your business.
If you’re seeing success in what you’re doing, then, outside of seeking efficiencies and ways to enhance that process, there’s no reason to change things up. However, when you see inefficiencies or areas that need improvement, it would be irresponsible not to implement the necessary changes.
It’s About the Culture
Outside of having systems in place to track efficiency, the number one way to identify inefficiency is communication. There needs to be departmental and cross-departmental communication to ensure everyone is on the same page, and everyone needs to be honest with each other.
The added layer to this is that you need a team and culture in place that emphasizes teamwork, personal growth, and accountability. When that culture is in place, team members are comfortable with having typically uncomfortable conversations around inefficiency, identifying the problem, and implementing the necessary solutions to maximize productivity.
One of the traps we tend to fall into is the thought that being busy leads to being productive, and that’s not always the case. Just because you’re working on a lot doesn’t mean you’re accomplishing a lot, and this is a misconception we’re seeing across many industries.
At Signarama headquarters, if we allow our own busyness to get in the way of supporting our franchisees, we are directly impacting their bottom line.
Systems That Work
To minimize this dilemma of busyness vs. productivity, you should put systems in place to prioritize your days and track current and upcoming projects.
There are individuals who are very good at prioritizing tasks and taking the right steps to accomplish those tasks to reach the result efficiently. There are others who aren’t as good at prioritizing, and that’s where the right processes come into play.
One thing I encourage our team to do is fill their calendars every day. That doesn’t mean filling your day with meetings when they aren’t necessary. Instead, when our team is working, I want them to block out those hours. This allows them to see what they’ve prioritized that week, identify what they’ve accomplished, and hone in on the areas they need to focus in on the following week.
We also utilize a program that allows our teams to collaborate cross-departmentally to track deadlines and responsibilities. When everyone is on the same page about what needs to be done and when, it provides accountability, promotes teamwork, and for us, it’s improved our efficiency while minimizing the trap of being busy without being productive.
It is important for all team members to take ownership and accountability for their work.
If inefficiencies are identified with a team member or a department, there should be an understanding that it’s their responsibility to implement an effective solution to correct the problem.
Part of my responsibility is ensuring my team knows when there are things that need to be corrected. When those conversations happen, we identify the problem and its causes and then pinpoint a solution to eliminate the issue. From there, it’s their responsibility to implement that solution.
When changes are implemented, you must expect a certain level of resistance. Not everyone is going to be on the same page from day one. But, as those changes are successful, you’ll see buy-in from the team and improvement in efficiency across the board.
People, in general, are hesitant to accept change. But like Henry Ford said: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
Three Tips for Greater Efficiency
1. PRIORITIZE YOUR TASKS.
It can be easy to look at your to-do list and start with the easiest tasks. My advice is to identify the most important things you need to accomplish that day and start there. This way, you’re focusing on what needs to be done and minimizing the pitfalls of being busy over being productive.
2. HOLD WEEKLY ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS.
Accountability is an important aspect of efficiency. I meet with my direct reports each week, and our team meets with their direct report weekly as well. This one-on-one time allows for conversations around what was accomplished in the previous week and the priorities for this week.
If we’re behind in certain areas, these meetings provide an opportunity to identify those areas of inefficiency and course correct with the right solution so that we can continue to prioritize production.
3. PRACTICE EVERY DAY.
Consistency is one of the biggest keys to efficiency. To be consistent, you must practice every single day. You can’t approach your day or your tasks half-heartedly. You have to plan and prioritize so that you can produce at the highest level.
If it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at efficiency, that’s 10,000 hours of practice that you must work at every day.
A.J. Titus is president of United Franchise Group (UFG), the global leader for entrepreneurs, and Signarama, the world’s largest sign and graphics franchise. He spearheads the worldwide development of all UFG-affiliated brands and supports policies promoting Signarama franchise owners’ expansion and profitability.
The post Creating Efficiencies in Business appeared first on Sign Builder Illustrated, The How-To Sign Industry Magazine.