Achieving work life balance needs a system!

You will often hear me talk now about creating harmony in the workplace, true harmony is when all of your processes interact with each other seamlessly to achieve a common goal. Sounds easy enough until you put people, external factors and risks/opportunities into the mix. So how am I helping with work life balance? I will enlighten you. To me ‘systems thinking’ is all about being able to understand the whole or the bigger picture. We need to put this deeper understanding into practice as we manage our day to day activities and changes that are occurring in our businesses. Do you feel that you have adequate time to do your job well and spend Quality time away from work? If the answer is no then Why? Maybe you are so consumed by what you do that the answer will not come without refocusing.

Some of us spend far too much time either fire fighting to survive or having conversations with ourselves over situations. Having precious little time and fighting the internal dialogues of our mind does not lead to us enjoying a healthy relationship with the business and a good work life balance. These are my tips to take you from surviving to thriving.

  • Take time out to relax and refocus, spend time on the business.
  • Look after you – if you are not in good health you won’t be in the right place to move forward.
  • Understand your business process, what is it that you exist to do?
  • Realise why systems are so important to creating sustainable growth.
  • Walk your process and start mapping out your business, design the way you want it to run and look like.
  • Implement systems that work for your business and your staff – involve everyone. (No forced templates)
  • Understand the risks and controls in your business, what is actually affecting your ability to deliver?
  • Prioritise – take things one step at a time – work on the things that are going to make the biggest impact to your customers and bottom line first.
  • Automate when you are able but only after you have defined the process first. For example your CRM system is not your process it is only a tool to help automate part of the Sales process.

If you need a gentle introduction to all of this then check out our new course and give yourself a different perspective on systems.

Have a great day!

Food for thought over Christmas

On the run up to Christmas you will be seeing many articles on what changes you should be making for the New Year. “What will you be doing to make a difference in 2016”, they ask. They are many good ideas and areas to focus on to improve, but whether it is your numbers, marketing or operations your people will be the key to success.

Your focus on your staff as the core of the changes is fundamental to the success of the improvement. Yes you need to look at the impact of any changes you make to ensure you address all possible risks but the new thinking required by employees does not happen on it’s own.

Having a fantastic business process is very important and should be celebrated but put it into the wrong environment and culture and it will not become the norm. Ask yourself this question about procedures you have put in place in your organisation. Is there anyone that repeatedly tries to cut out certain things, bypass your system? Have you asked the question why? Did you encourage your front line staff to help you write the procedure so that you can understand what life is like there?

Over the coming month of January my blogs are going to explore this more as it links to a lot of the areas covered by the new ISO9001:2015 standard. I want companies to understand the difference between instigating change within their company and building in fundamental lasting changes that will have an impact on their business.

Below I share my tips on key things to think about to nurture your culture and prepare for the changes ahead in 2016, these are not in order of importance just food for thought over the Christmas period..

  • Processes and systems – Have systems that are well written and effective. if there is a problem focus on the system first not who to blame, blame cultures destroy innovations and improvement.

  • Leadership and vision –  Knowing the why behind your business enables you to engage people with your story. True followers of a leader want to be inspired and the art is to help them develop their own dreams for their lives both work and at home. Lead by example and adhere to your systems; otherwise how can you expect anyone else to value what you say if you are not committed yourself. Systems also allow you to add the degree of control needed and put the boundaries in place to enable you to lead and manage the business.

  • Listen – Listen to your customers, listen to your staff and all interested parties that may have a direct impact in you being able to fulfil your purpose for the business. Do you actually know what your customers perception of you is? What do your staff say about you and the company?

  • Knowledge – Build a knowledge hub, encourage the sharing of information to remove the knowledge is power culture. Understand and build on the competencies of your people, make sure it links to the risks affecting your business. Ensure that your staff have the right knowledge to do their jobs, the most willing individual cannot perform if they do not have access to the correct information this is my next point.

  • Fact based decision making – You’re probably collect a lot of data without even knowing it, or maybe you do but it’s not not in an easy format to report from. Take away assumptions and start basing your decisions and fact, know your numbers and analyse for your Key Performance indicators.

  • Be SMART with your actions – Always link objectives to your why and make sure they are SMART, clear actions are the only way to achieve what you want and enable others to help you get there.

  • Values – We all have values we hold with high importance, make sure this is reflected in your business and maintain that integrity. Define your values for others and recruit on this basis to maintain your culture. If you have someone poisoning the culture it is far better to lose them however much knowledge they hold. The most efficient working team environment is one that is happy, fulfilled and dedicated to it’s purpose.

The important thing to remember is the clear line of sight between your vision and why to all of the above. Make sure there is reason and understanding behind what you do and communicate this in a way that your staff can understand and delivery on..

To all my friends, colleagues and customers have a very merry Christmas and I hope all your dreams for 2016 come true.

Merry Christmas to all

Merry Christmas to all

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can’t always do it alone

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Every business owner knows the stresses and strains when there simple is not enough time to achieve what he or she needs, that is why I like B. C. Forbes quote.

“The most successful executives carefully select understudies. They don’t strive to do everything themselves. They train and trust others. This leaves them foot-free, mind-free, withtime to think. They have time to receive important callers, to pay worthwhile visits. They have timefor their families. No matter how able, any employer or executive who insists on running a one-man enterprise courts unhappy circumstances when his powers dwindle.”

So what happens when the project is a one time affair, like a re-structure, large changes, ISO9001? There are times when it may not be feasible to find or pull in the expertise in house and the benefits of using a consultant far out-way the costs. Now I can anticipate some of the instant reactions and historically I feel the word consultant equated to necessary evil sometimes. Certainly in the engineering industry I never met anyone that wanted to look for outside help; “they won’t understand the way we work, they will force us to do it their way, it is too costly and too disruptive” are just some phrases I remember. It is for  these reasons I never wanted to label myself as a consultant – I became an expert, a specialist or I just help people I would say.

I wrote this blog because I believe consultants have a purpose,  pick a good one and they become a mentor and a friend who wants to see you succeed. It should be someone you can work very closely with. Use a consultant wisely and they can inject new life into your business, lately I have been hearing the term “you are like a breath of fresh air” from many different people and it is slowly dawning on me what they mean. My personal quest is to educate and help individuals use that knowledge to their advantage, with extra guidance and support from me. So what are the benefits?

  • A consultant can provide expertise & advice that you do not have in your skills base
  • You will have a completely impartial view of the situation – a new light
  • A consultant can ease conflict and enter a situation as a non threat
  • You will gain extra time that it may not be feasible to release staff for
  • You can depend on them to co-ordinate and facilitate changes leaving you free to focus on the business
  • A new communication channel to fire up innovation
  • You can inject expertise for the term of a project without having to employ someone at that skill set

If you need help just identifying what you should think about before even looking at a consultant just get in touch and I can help you with your questions and brief. Most importantly meet them, trust them and like them you need to work closely together. You will need to commit time and energy into the project together.