Back To Basics – Being Organised

One of the most important skills a manager can possess is the ability to be organised. Not only does your work require structured thinking, discipline and action, it also requires the ability to juggle a multitude of jobs at any one time – all with their own complexities and client expectations. Now add transformation into the mix. Actions to undertake, deadlines to meet, changes to implement etc And now there is all the normal day to day administrative work to do – performance reviews, management reporting, marketing the business, coaching the team and the list goes on.

So how do you get through all this work without working 24 hours a day? Yes, you could employ more resources or you could get back to basics and employ simple and effective organisational skills to help you work more efficiently. Being organised is not just about getting a lot of work done. It is also about creating a work environment that is conducive to clear thinking, a lower error rate and enables you to control what you do and when you do it. It is also an environment that says to a client “We are efficient, we know what we are doing and you can have complete confidence in us to do a great job”. To achieve this and enjoy control over your workspace, here are a number of tips to improve your organisational skills:

  • Use a notebook or diary to track important notes and record action items. Your memory may be excellent, but there it is no substitute to writing actions down
  • Use checklists. Yes – not only will your new checklists be essential in creating consistent quality in your business, they will help you be more organised
  • Do one thing at a time. Multitasking is a great skill, but don’t multitask when working on client jobs. Adopt the mantra “One thing at a time”
  • Plan in advance. This is about preventative maintenance and planning, NOT reacting. Plan out your week and your day to use your time most effectively
  • Use folders and colour coding. As simple as this seems, putting things in folders (and labelling them) is an excellent way to be organised. Plus, having a tidy work area can give you a sense of control
  • Avoid cutting yourself short. We have all fallen into the trap of not allowing ourselves sufficient time to get a task complete. By being organised, you will have a clear picture of your priorities and be able to make promises you can keep
  • Use “To Do” lists. Simple; easy; inexpensive. Update your list every night before going home and revisit it every morning. Create a list for your week and refine it as the week progresses
  • Co-ordinate with others. You don’t work in a vacuum so co-ordinate efforts with your team members, especially if you need their assistance to complete a job. Your last minute rush is not their problem
  • Learn the most important word “No”. Being organised means having to occasionally say “no” to new work. Practice as this is a hard lesson to implement
  • Get the lay of the land. If you are new to the business, check out where essentials items are kept, who looks after stationery, computers, printers, photocopiers etc. Knowing where things are kept will save you time trying to sort this out later
  • Keep a tidy desk. This has to be one of the most difficult organisational techniques for a manager to implement. A tidy desk does contribute to clearer thinking, helps you avoid distractions, and reduces the chance of client work being misfiled.

Investing five minutes in improving organisational skills today will pay great dividends tomorrow!

Get in touch and ask us to conduct a FREE Business Evaluation Meeting and find out about our unique way of designing and implementing strategies to generate sustainable business improvement.

How to Grow and Managing a Business for Profits: Seminar

Growing and Managing a Business for Profits – What business owners need to do to boost income and manage a business through tough times

http://nuorderbusinessgrowth.eventbrite.co.uk/

Event Details:

Duration: Tuesday 13th June, 9am to 12.30pm.
Location: Mere Court Hotel Conference Centre, Mere, Knutsford, Cheshire.

Full Fee: £35 including booking fees and VAT
Early Bird Fee: £25 including booking fees and VAT (Sold Out)
Finders Fee: Receive £5 for every person you recommend who then attends the seminar.

Normally £50 + VAT, this personal invite entitles you to attend this joint seminar at a discounted rate.

Seminar Details:

Do you want to recapture your enthusiasm for your business or for the business you work for?  Are you looking for ways to grow your business and instill a sense of pride in your workforce that will result in increased profitability?

Then this is a seminar not to be missed.  Delivered by two experts in their field, Roger Brown and Lisa Gibson, the 3 ½ hour seminar programme will provide you with simple yet highly effective techniques to achieve your business aspirations.

You will come away with top tips on Social Business and the use of CRM and well as understanding the power of having the right person in the right job within any organization.

This seminar programme will benefit anyone who:

  • owns a business and wants help to grow or manage the business more effectively
  • wants tips and advice on managing and inspiring a team
  • want to increase leads and grow a client base

How do I book a place?

  1. Purchase your tickets. http://nuorderbusinessgrowth.eventbrite.co.uk/
  2. Once your booking has been received and assessed, you will be sent a booking confirmation, which will include the location, directions, and the terms and conditions.

About your speakers:

For information on Roger Brown and his testimonials visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/rogerbrownnuorder

For information on Lisa Gibson and her testimonuals visit http://www.linkedin.com/in/lisagibsontriple3

The Manager’s Leadership Guide

Are you an effective leader? What is your management style?

Management:

To have effective control, focus and accomplish tasks involved in a business. Leadership Being able to give guidance and motivation to employees, while having the ability to create a relationship and environment in which the employee is willingly able to apply their unique abilities to meet common goals and objectives of the business. To be an effective manager you need to be an excellent leader. As a leader you need to have competence, focus, commitment and professionalism. The excellent leaders checklist:A clear vision and purpose

  • Practical goals and objectives
  • Never ending commitment
  • Flexibility
  • Understanding
  • Strong listening skills
  • Confidence in decision making, delegating and supervising
  • Willing to take risks
  • Willing to learn from mistakes
  • Outstanding communication skills
  • Able to speak and delegate clearly and effectively
  • Realistic approaches
  • Resourceful ability

Leadership styles:

There are many styles of leadership and it is important to know that like most you aren’t going to fit into one particular category. Picking a leadership style is a bit like a choose-your-own-adventure book. You can mix and match your leadership style to suit the place of business, job role, or individual personalities working under you and so on. There are four common styles of management or leadership, and they are listed as follows.

The Director – Always setting goals, identifying problems, coming up with solutions, delegates effectively, able to give specific directions, announces decisions and supervises and evaluates their employees closely. They will usually give step-by-step instructions and will ensure that the employee is carrying out those directions efficiently and in the respective manner.

The Coach – The coach will set goals and identify problems. However, unlike the director, the coach will seek employees’ ideas, opinions and feelings. They develop plans to solve problems and make final decisions on procedures and solutions once they have consulted with their employees. The coach is likely to praise, evaluate and direct the employee’s work. Building the relationship is important to the coach and will seek the employee prior to committing themselves to something their team may reject, and will share responsibilities among them.

The Supporter – The supporter is similar to the coach in that they will involve employees in making decisions, problem solving, evaluating employees and sharing responsibility among their team. The supporter is strong on employee involvement for goal setting and will listen to the employee while guiding them as they make their decisions. The supporter will provide the employee with whatever they need to help them carry out their job. Although the supporter is strong on employee relationships, they do take leadership in defining how to do a job or solve a problem before sharing the responsibilities out.

The Delegator – The delegator will identify problems, set goals, develop plans and make decisions, but requires their team to take an active role of participation. The delegator will allow employees to decide on who does what tasks, lets employees evaluate their own work, permits their employees to take responsibility and credit for their work and accepts employees’ decisions. Although this leader will pass on responsibilities to their team, they are likely to keep tabs on their performance.

No matter which leadership style you have decided to choose or you naturally carry, it is important that you understand that:

  • An employees ability can be improved by giving them experience, knowledge and skills
  • The willingness of employees can be improved by giving encouragement and motivation
  • As an individual grows through experience, knowledge, skills and confidence, you will need to adapt your leadership style to suit
  • If an individual seems to become withdrawn and sensitive to situations, alternatively you will need to adapt to this behaviour and change your style of leadership to be more supportive and encouraging
  • There is no one style which is perfect or consistently ideal – adjust it accordingly

Learning To Delegate

Some small business owners are proud of the fact that they do everything for their businesses themselves. But it doesn’t always make business sense to be a one-person operation. In fact, you should delegate as much work as you possibly can if you want your business to thrive. If you don’t, chances are you’ll always be short on time, long on responsibilities, and standing still in business.

There are three key reasons why small business people say they can’t delegate. Some common excuses are listed below. Read on to find out why they don’t hold water. Then use a worksheet like the one described below to help you figure out what responsibilities you can delegate.

Money – “I can’t afford to pay someone to do this for me.” It’s short-sighted to avoid delegation because of the financial investment it requires. Yes, you will have to pay someone to do something you can do yourself. But if you’re a consultant who charges £150/hour, should you be using your time to stuff envelopes? Use the time you free up by delegating to find new business. This way, you’ll still be making some money on the tasks you contract out and you’ll be making money on the new work too.

Time – “It will take too much time to train someone. I can do it faster by myself.” Not having the time to train someone is often a smoke screen for something else like a fear of giving up control. If this is your rationale, write down all your tasks and how long it would take to teach someone to take care of them for you. Then choose one or two jobs that are the easiest to farm out and start with them. This will gradually get you used to letting go of routine responsibilities.

Quality – “No one can do this as well as I can.” This is the oldest excuse in the book; it’s probably also true. But it’s not a reason to avoid delegating. A person you employ may not do something as well as you can. But think about the job this person can do for you once he or she is trained. If you determine that only you can complete certain tasks perfectly, you have two choices: save them for yourself and delegate other tasks, or settle for having something done well instead of perfectly. Lots of times, a very good job is sufficient.

Delegating Worksheet Use a worksheet to determine how you’re using your time. Use it over the course of a week or two to see how much time each task (whether important or menial) takes you. You might find out that you’re using a lot of time for certain jobs that can be easily delegated out. Your worksheet should have three columns:

  1. Task / Activity
  2. Time Spent
  3. Delegation Plan

Use the “Delegation Plan” column to record your ideas for steps necessary to farm out a task. Include a list of possible candidates. Use it over the course of a week or two to see how much time each task (whether important or menial) takes you. You might find out that you’re using a lot of time for certain jobs that can be easily delegated out.

Get in touch and ask us to conduct a FREE Business Evaluation Meeting and find out about our unique way of designing and implementing strategies to generate sustainable business improvement.

Managing Internal Politics

Every workplace has internal politics, even the ones that say that they don’t. Internal politics can be a negative or a positive contribution to the business depending on how they are executed in your workplace. To get an insight on how the politics are run in your business you need to identify the possible political arenas that could occur or co-exist in the business. These will include, minimal, moderate, highly and pathological political arenas.

Minimal Politics

This will be an amicable atmosphere where debate and conflict are rare. If a conflict should arise it will only last a very short time. In this environment peoples’ promotion and other gains are seen as a positive rather than a loss to others. This is an ideal environment for those who don’t like being in a political struggle or an aggressive political environment.

Moderate Politics

These businesses operate on commonly understood and authoritative rules. They are often small, fast moving firms where customer focus, results, teamwork and trust play a huge role in the business. Should a conflict become out of control in this type of business the manager will all ways return back to the rules and call upon them to resolve the matter. Some larger businesses may have a moderate political arena especially when the focus on the dexterity and agility factors.

Highly Political

Conflict is likely to occur in a business that has a high political arena. People rely on aggressive political methods to resolve the issue in which unfortunately hinders the problem rather than constructively focuses on a resolution. Formal rules aren’t regularly applied in this type of business and are more than likely only pursued and applied when it is convenient. Groups are clearly defined in this business and communication lacks with senior managers and authorities. It can often run at an extreme dysfunctional pattern as placing blame is a regular event and looking for solutions to problems is rare.

Pathological Politics

These businesses have an unstable workplace and are likely to selfdestruct. It is an untrusting environment and conflict continues for a long period of time. Interactions with team members are often uncomfortable and awkward. Most the time people are covering their tracks and respect is a lacking contribution within the business. Each political arena has its weaknesses and therefore changes and adjustments should be made to ensure the workplace is a comfortable, enjoyable place to be with minimal political pressures as possible. If politics are high on the business agenda and need to be reviewed, below are some things that can be changed to reduce the possibility of self destruction.

  • Flattery – this can be a dangerous situation. If senior management or people in high positions are regularly receiving flattery it can cause aggression and discomfort toward these people. Flattery should be given wide spread across both sectors – the people in lower rated jobs and those in higher positions.
  • Communication – if information is regularly with held because someone doesn’t want to rock the boat so to speak, then this will potentially be a disadvantage to your team and your business. People need to be encouraged to speak freely and contribute ideas, successors and have an opinion whether it to be agree or disagree.
  • Gossip – even where there is a small amount of conflict, gossip and backstabbing is a common occurrence in the workplace. Reducing this can be difficult but must be controlled and sorted through resolution and strategy.
  • Indifference – having an environment where no one is valued and everyone is considered as dispensable is a disturbing environment as everyone is looking out for themselves while battling others so that they can get them before they get you.
  • Mislead – misleading others so that the credit can be passed to someone else is a factor that needs to be eliminated. Teamwork is what brings a business to success and therefore the lack of support to each other in the workplace can have a devastating affect. The sacrificing of others so that you don’t look bad is a brutal move that will concern everyone.

Managing workplace politics requires you to decide on a political style that will match your workplace culture. You will need to determine if you are:

  • A Purist – hard work will get you everywhere, politics rarely exist and rules are relied on to get things done.
  • A Team Player – working together will get you ahead while politics are used equally to advance the goals of the group. Group needs are put ahead of career and focus is on doing the job right within a moderately political environment.
  • A Fighter – an individual. Politics are likely to be subliminal but will invoke rules when they help to achieve personal goals. Trust doesn’t come easy and their tactics are to achieve above the rest. The fighter is a survivor and will battle through high political arenas and pathological ones.
  • A Manoeuvrer – an individual with a mind to play political games. This is their plan to get ahead however it is very skilled and unobtrusive. A manoeuvrer will use politics to meet their objects but not as much as the fighter. They can be related to as a smooth operator and do things to suit them and if it will benefit them in some way or other and will squash those who get in their way. They are ideally suited to highly political and pathological arenas.

Politics exist whether we want them to or not. You just need to identify and eliminate at prevalent times and maintain a focus on how your business needs to be run to meet its objectives. If you are able to make politics work to meet the business objectives and it doesn’t cause lack of productivity, self-destructiveness or team morale.

Systemisation-The Foundation of Transformation

When we talk about transformation, you will invariably find that we talk about People, Process and Systems in the same sentence. People, Processes and Systems form the triumvirate of transforming your business into the business you have always wanted.

You might also have come across the term “systemisation”. While People, Process and Systems form the triumvirate of transformation, systemisation is the output that underpins the entire effort. It is the foundation on which your new business will operate for years to come. So what is systemisation and why is it the foundation of transformation?

When we talk about “systemisation” we are not referring to installing the latest equipment, the best software, the fastest printers or the largest server in your business. While the systems that support your business are important, the best technology in the world will be a waste of money unless you systemise.

What we are referring to is the process of building efficiency in your business through the meeting of People, Process and Systems:

  1. Agreed/approved, relevant and appropriate policies, procedures and checklists
  2. Consistency in activities -team members following a logical process for every activity every time
  3. Competency in activities – every team member having and maintaining the appropriate skills to undertake their job consistently, effectively and efficiently
  4. Standardisation in activities – every team member following the same logical process for one activity
  5. Accessibility of information – making agreed/approved procedures and checklists easy to access, understand and use
  6. Preservation of knowledge – knowledge being shared through updating procedures and checklists, team meetings and training
  7. Continuous improvement – every team member having responsibility for contributing to the improvement of procedures and checklists.

Without systemisation

  • Your People will continue to do the work but in any way that is convenient having regard to their background and training
  • Your Processes will be adequate to support your services but will be ignored, irrelevant or out of date leaving you with an ongoing quality issue
  • Your Systems might be the latest and greatest, but without the skilled People using the correct Process, it will remain a case of “garbage in – garbage out”.

With Systemisation

  • Your People will be skilled and confident in using the right Process at the right time, regardless of their background
  • Your Processes will be used each time every time by People with the appropriate skills. Every activity will be produced with a consistent level of quality and timeliness
  • Your Systems will be appropriate for your business and integrate seamlessly with your Processes while your People will be trained in how to use them most effectively.

As the above shows, systemisation brings together People, Process and Systems. Only focusing on Process for instance, without attention to People and Systems will give you a business with procedures and checklists. It probably won’t give you the People skilled in using those procedures or the efficient use of Systems.

Separately, People, Processes or Systems will deliver some benefits to your business. However, by focussing and making improvements to all three, you are systemising your bsuiness, transforming it into the business you have always wanted.