It is natural for workflow to become unbalanced as your company and your team grow and change. Even worse are the bottlenecks that begin to occur with work in progress. Often the amount of work becomes uneven, as does the matching of talents to job responsibility. To maintain maximum effectiveness, you must periodically evaluate the work levels and talents of your team and reassign responsibilities accordingly or conduct a stop-restart to firm out where the traffic jams occurred in the first place. This allows flow within your system while enabling team to grow into new, challenging and fulfilling positions. Unfortunately, we rarely look at this until we are faced with less than ideal (crisis) times like when we have to add or significantly increase a new service area, are considering adding new employees, have lost employees or need to let an employee go.
Here are four STRONG suggestions to eliminate bottlenecks. And below we explain HOW they do so.
1. Weekly Key Support Meetings: We recommend one hour of dedicated, consistent weekly time with the key person on your team who supports your world. This time is typically at the start or end of each week and allows each of you to go through your entire calendar, personal and professional, for the next 30 days to find any holes, double commitments, over commitments, or potential roadblocks for work in progress. You should also proactively look at cash flow, vacations (or making certain a vacation is on the horizon) etc. This is a HUGE opportunity for a “board of directors” meeting to take a look at the state of the union before a crisis occurs or a ball is dropped.
2. Weekly Growth Time: At a minimum, carve out 90 minutes a week, consistently every week, to work on projects such as software training, systems training and/or book clubs for ideas you want to implement in the business to support future GROWTH. It’s time dedicated to all that “stuff” that you can never get to. Without intentional, proactive growth time, every day feels like groundhog day. Eventually another year goes by and your business looks exactly like it did last year (if not worse), and every year you say ”If only we could get to X, then Y would really change.”
3. Monthly Coffee Klatch: Where the hidden gems lie buried. This is agenda-free, non-business time with your key team member(s) spent over breakfast, lunch or afternoon coffee. This time is purely to connect on a personal level. No files or work are “brought to the table.” This is all about building relationship, establishing trust and an opportunity for each of you to speak your truth and share your greatest visions. That’s it. We won’t go into what you can expect here, but if you can come to the table fully present, actively listening and ready to enjoy the downtime together, email us after four consistent monthly meetings and we will be happy to offer a 50 minute NO CHARGE coaching session with you.
4. Quarterly Spring Cleaning: The term “spring” means a rebirth, and that is exactly what this time will provide. Block out half a day each quarter for the entire firm (yes, attorneys too) to literally clean out each office, lunch room, storage room or whatever other “room” you are using as a closet. One key team member MUST be assigned to work WITH the attorney on the attorney’s office (don’t leave him/her alone). We suggest the entire team tackle the common areas together.
How do these four suggestions eliminate bottlenecks?
Once you make the conscious choice for uninterrupted communication, connection and collaboration, you start to create a habit of proactively looking at the business and relationships. You become aware of how you show up in the role you play. When you stop long enough to create silence and space and drop all the agendas and “gottas,” that is when possibility and opportunity begin to take root, creating staying power. You begin to see where the bottlenecks are and how to eliminate them in a proactive, powerful way versus a knee-jerk reaction to a crisis.
What bottlenecks are you tolerating?
We invite you to join us for our free webinar, “Essentials to hire, empower and keep great employees” on Tuesday, December 3rd from 5-6pm ET. Click here to register.
Champions of your continued success,
Molly and Laney