Are You Doing Too Much Work?
The sprinkler guy just left my house, after teaching me the nuances of how sprinklers work for TWO hours. I don’t want the details about how the sprinklers function. I don’t care. I just want them to work. And I told the sprinkler guy this. But he insisted on teaching me –a.k.a. dragging me to each broken sprinkler head and having me observe as he repaired it. Exasperating! Then he billed me for his time. Without the lesson the visit would have been 30 minutes and $45. With the lesson, it was two hours and $130.
Read your audience. Are you putting in too much work?
Where are you over communicating? Who’s reading all of those PowerPoint presentations and reports? Just because you’ve created that report for the past five years doesn’t mean it’s still necessary or desired.
Ask your internal and external customers (everyone you work closely with) how they want to receive information, in what format, and how frequently.
Ask internal and external customers:
- Do they prefer to receive information in bullets or narrative form? Detailed or big picture? Graphs and/or charts?
- What information is important and what is unnecessary?
- Who needs to receive the information? People have enough to read. Most people won’t be insulted to receive one fewer email.
- How often do they want to receive the information?
I am hesitant to change processes when I begin working with an organization, assuming there is a good reason they exist. But when I ask why we do certain things as we do, invariably no one can tell me. I am often told, “We’ve just always done it that way.”
Don’t change things just to change them. And before you make a change, consult those who are impacted. Ask what people want and what they don’t. Then make changes. You may just pick up 10 extra hours each week and reduce your and others’ frustration 20 fold.