When there is lot to be done and the amount of staff has been optimized according to current tasks, there is very little time available for developmental activities. Many of us have long to-do lists full of things to be done when the time is right. But that time rarely arrives, and even essential developmental activities are therefore set aside for operative tasks.
Conquering the Tail End of the To-Do List
Even if you do not have an actual to-do list I am sure you know what I am talking about. At the very least, you have a list in your head that occasionally reminds you of its existence. There are things that have been stuck at the end of that list for months. Reminders or internal monologues related to them only serve to upset and frustrate you. I will, I will… if I only had the time.
We tend to carry out small, urgent tasks one after another, only to accomplish something and pare down our lists. Deadlines apply here as well. To use an old example, we fill our day like a glass jar with small pebbles, leaving no room for larger stones. The pebbles symbolize our daily tasks, while the stones signify larger projects and planning. When we prioritize the small day-to-day stuff, we leave little room for the larger items that may hold the future of the company.
"When we do not keep up with the development of our field, we hand
the market over to our competitors too easily and lose opportunities to ensure cost effectiveness."
We Can Influence the Future of Our Company
The development of a company is used to prepare for the future and the new challenges introduced by it. While we cannot fully predict the future, we can at least recognize that the current situation is likely to change. If we cannot keep up with the development of our field, we hand the market over to our competitors too easily and lose opportunities to ensure cost effectiveness. We must be ready to react when something happens. And preferably, even before that.
If everyone at your company already has their hands full, you have the opportunity to utilize professionals who can help you during the developmental task. This will also increase the enthusiasm of your own personnel, as things progress and some of the load and to-do items are taken on by other people. They are still involved in the development, but only where necessary to provide input, thus reducing the negative effects on daily operations. And many developmental tasks do in fact genuinely develop the operations, meaning that they may even facilitate job performance in the future. Development can also lead to long term savings, so the sooner we can begin work, the better the results and the more time we have to react before it’s too late.
Specialist Has an Outsider’s View of the Entire Operation
The management of the company may be fully aware of developmental tasks and only needs to enlist a specialist to carry out the project. I have said that when we are operating in a target-oriented way and are openly willing to develop, we have taken the most important step towards results. Objectively, we should use figures to determine our current state: what is our starting point and what are our priorities. Together we can increase the efficiency of the operation and the time available for essential tasks, provide cost savings and improve the appeal of day to day tasks through the development of processes. Therefore, developmental tasks should not be postponed indefinitely.
"Predetermined operations models and experience provide a running start for developmental tasks."
Many have initially wondered how an external specialist could identify and implement improvements in the operation of their company. Experience has
shown that many companies or individual managers have built a protective wall around themselves and presume that additional value for the operation can only be provided through 25 years of experience from that exact field. The good news is that we can dismiss the above, as new skills are constantly sought out in an everchanging market. Time after time, old and traditional models are trounced by new methods.
"What’s the bottom line?"
Predetermined operations models and experience provide a running start for developmental tasks. We do not get stuck on the how and what, but instead ask who are the key personnel and how is the implementation carried out. We know the effects various tasks have on profit or loss. Thus, we won’t engage in unnecessary tasks or waste anyone’s time on developmental tasks that are not considered effective. The first things to be considered include “what’s the
bottom line?” and “how can we enable continuous development, instead of a single measure that leads to the customer adopting the old methods within a
Realistic View of the Resources Required for the Tasks
Sometimes, the customer may have a highly unrealistic view of the work needed for the developmental tasks. The implementation of a significant change in the business operation may have been left on hold for years and the outside specialist is expected to complete it in a few days. It is best to devise a clear
progress model and provide structure. This helps us see the entire picture and the amount of work required phase-by- phase. This ensures that we reserve
enough time and maintain realistic expectations. We can focus on the essential and avoid surprises along the way.
Development projects proceed according to the customer’s schedule and resources. Sometimes, it is simply necessary to put the project on hold. This is
not a problem, as long as the project is suspended in a professional manner to ensure continuation of the work in the future. Flexibility and swift development are key – instead of staking out the unattainable we proceed step-by-step according to the results. Concrete results are the best motivator and make it possible to take the next step forward.
I encourage everyone to tackle the development tasks on their list – or at least the first one. I also recommended considering whether the views and input of an outside specialist could prove to be useful. New ideas can provide massive boosts to development projects to keep the wheels in motion.