Now is the time to radically challenge the way you and your organisation have been doing things
With many of us now working from home and our organisations continuing to function this is a prime opportunity to start challenging those processes and habits that have just been part of the fabric for decades, but which may actually not be required at all, or not required as frequently.
Every organisation, no matter how large or small does things that are either unproductive, ineffective or actually a total waste of time. The problem is that we never have the time to challenge these activities – usually because we are too busy doing all the things that eat into our time in the first place.
Given the change of circumstances that we are all finding ourselves in I am sure that many processes are on hold, many meetings are not being held and many things are not been done that used to get done.
We must now ask ourselves 3 questions when we return to normality
- “Did we really need to do that task?”
- “Did we really need to meet every week?”
- “Did we really need to do that task as frequently”
BUT THAT’S THE WAY WE DO IT HERE!
Many of us, and it is just human nature, tend to follow the herd. It is called “Groupthink” which describes the situation where a person does not want to upset the “group” thinking or does not want to be the maverick.
How many times have you heard that phrase or variations thereof eg. “But we have always done it that way”. Much too often I would guess.
Let me give you an example:
A number of years ago I had a Project Manager who told me a story. Let’s call him Mike.
One of Mike’s responsibilities was to produce a weekly status report for the Project Executive Steering Group made up of senior executives. The task would normally take Mike 3 to 4 hours, every week.
Now Mike suspected, well actually he knew, that the members of the Project Executive Steering Group very rarely, if ever, read the status reports. Mike therefor decided to conduct an experiment.
Mike would send the members of the Steering Group an email with the status report attached as an excel file. One week he simply sent each member a blank spreadsheet – appropriately named of course – and stood back and waited.
What do you think happened?
Correct – absolutely nothing. Not one of the Project Executive Steering Group contacted Mike to tell him that the spreadsheet was empty.
Well, obviously, none of them actually opened it.
This went on for a period of about 4 to 5 weeks until one member did notice and contacted Mike. All Mike did was apologise and attached the correct report.
However, at the next physical Steering group meeting he announced what he had been doing and challenged the Executives. There was much embarrassment of course but they all put their hands up and admitted that actually they were not that interested in weekly updates. The outcome was an agreement that there was actually no need to submit weekly and that monthly was sufficient there by saving Mike 1.5 days a month.
TO STAND OUT YOU NEED TO START CHALLENGING THE NORM
There are many such examples within your organisation and this is your opportunity to stand up when you return and to challenge just why we have been doing things the way we have.
During this time just start to think about everything that you, your boss and your colleagues that you support used to do and now cannot do or cannot do as frequently but where there has not been a significant deterioration in performance. For example:-
- Is the Weekly Meeting actually necessary? Should we not consider making them every two weeks when we return or even every three weeks?
- How many normally recurring meetings were actually not held during this period and did it make any difference? Did people manage to communicate without having the meeting? If so, is that meeting absolutely necessary?
- Did you have meetings that people would normally travel to? Did they cope meeting remotely? If so, then why revert to meetings that require travelling?
- Has anybody complained about not receiving information from you which you would normally send? If not, then challenge whether they actually needed that information in the first place
- Have people managed to cope with electronic reports as opposed to printed versions? If so, is it absolutely necessary to print all these reports for future meetings?
JUST DO IT: BE THE MAVERICK