This past week I’ve covered Western Canada teaching a “Thinking Outside the Lines for Leaders and Manager’s Course” Creative thinking is a cornerstone to drive the innovation necessary to your company thrive in an ever changing and competitive marketplace.
Many came for a makeover of sorts. They were hoping that somehow the class would transform their personality that was solidly in favor of process and routine to one that could think creatively. They were surprised and relieved when I told them that innovation is not a personality. Creativity and innovation are driven by two other important factors which are Process and Attitude. Yes, the foundation of creativity is process.
Two things that should spark creative process in your company are planning and pain. This blog is all about the first: Planning.
Research studies support reviewing your current processes on a regular basis. They suggest that if on an annual basis you look at each step of an existing process and ask two questions: 1. “Does it still help us achieve our goals?” and 2. “Crazy I know, but what would happen if I didn’t do it” that you’ll be able to eliminate on average 15 percent of your current workload because it no longer adds value. In an environment that constantly challenges us to do more with less that should be a welcome exercise. It is what I call “low hanging fruit” to help your company thrive.
Personal experience has shown me that you need to ask the right person when assessing the value of an activity. I had a manager in an Edmonton workshop share her story. She was a newly appointed manager of her company’s team of executive assistants. To understand her team better she scheduled time with each one of them and ran through a detailed review of what they did on a regular basis. With one admin assistant she noticed that every Friday she created a report for the VP of Finance. She asked her about it and questioned if it was still necessary. That question hit a nerve as her team member explained how insistant the previous VP of Finance had been on the requirement for this report. “Absolutely Not! They need this.” was the answer she got. She asked how long this admin assistant spent each Friday on it and was told it took about 3 hours. With that information, she said “Thank you, leave it with me.” Her destination was the end user or customer of the information which was the current VP of Finance. She approached her and asked her how important this weekly report was to her and was shocked when the response was “What report?” . The new VP had never even opened this email once in 2 years of being in the position. She assumed she was on a distribution list and that the information was meant for someone else.” What was important in 2002 may no longer be important in 2013 and it requires process to drive the review of that.
The morale of the story is that your end user or customer should be included in your assessment in the value of a task or offering. They will help you keep focused on only activities that provide value in the their mind.
Go get your low hanging fruit! Pain relief will be the topic of my next blog. Have a great week everyone.
David Benjatschek is a professional speaker/trainer based out of Calgary. He travels across Canada with a passion for giving emerging leaders a practical blueprint for leadership success. Email: email@example.com or web www.authorenticity.com for more information.
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