What disorganization might look like in your company and what you can do about it.
You might see anything in a disorganized organization, ranging from time management issues to not having processes in place to get things done efficiently, repeatedly and consistently. These types of issues lead to other problems in the business, such as difficulty retaining customers and clients, getting referrals from the clients who are looking for more than you can offer, taking too long to produce and deliver proposals and set up meetings and missing opportunities.
Bottom line is, an unorganized organization will hurt the business, create missed opportunities and stifle growth.
An article by Jessika Toothman, “10 Signs You’re a Disorganized Mess” points out a number of telltale signs that you, as an individual, are disorganized, ranging from feeling overwhelmed to finding that food often spoils in your refrigerator.
You might not think that these are signs of disorganization, but think about it;
- if you are overwhelmed, it is probably because you have allowed too many things to get on your plate and have no way to manage all of them.
- If your food spoils in the refrigerator, a) you are probably cooking or buying too much food, or b) you probably don’t take the time to go through it, to make sure that you are consuming all of the leftovers.
Your business is no different. If your company is disorganized, there are telltale signs that will reveal this:
- if every time you go to create a proposal, it is almost like recreating the wheel, you might be disorganized.
- If you start looking for directions when you are supposed to be at a meeting, you are probably disorganized
- If you arrive at your accountant’s office with a large bag of receipts…disorganized.
- If you don’t notice that your employees are running late…because you are late, too…
- If you are still giving out your beeper number…
- If you are working 80 hours a week and don’t feel like you are getting much done (you are fighting fires all day!) you are probably disorganized.
Think about it: the bottom line is that time is money; wasted time means that you are missing out on opportunities to earn revenue or serve your clients. Even if money isn’t your motivator, money is what allows you to stay in business day in a day out.
You cannot operate your company like this and expect to grow it, nonetheless, remain in business. Getting the business organized is a commitment that must be embraced. If the principle cannot handle it, some other member or members of the team should be given the authority to take on the responsibility.
So what can you do to get yourself and your company more organized? A few things that I recommend include:
- Start with your schedule: use time blocking to organize the tasks that you must do regularly. Don’t fill up every square inch of your calendar; leave some room for the unexpected. It will still happen.
- Create task lists and assign the tasks to your time blocks. For example, if you need to take action from an email you’ve received, do so during the “email management” time block. Not right away.
- When adding things to your calendar that don’t fit within your time blocking, try to move the blocks rather than remove them so that your productivity remains high
- Plan your schedule for the week at the beginning of the week. With your tasks and your time blocking, you should know what you will accomplish by the end of the week.
- Hold yourself accountable, or have someone else do it; look at the number of tasks you scheduled versus the number you have actually accomplished
- Develop processes for the things that need to be done regularly. In some cases, this might be a list or a checklist; in other cases where other people are involved you might wish to use a chart and assign different members of the team to different parts of the chart. The chart will allow you to identify bottlenecks and perhaps, fix them.
- Create standards of productivity so that you can determine how long something should take versus how long it actually takes. This will help with scheduling and resource management
- Look for problem areas in the business – things that are taking too long (bottlenecks), things that create inconveniences, such as running out of ink for a printer, etc., and determine how these things need to get addressed. Perhaps, add them to somebody’s calendar.
- Make sure that the tasks you are doing or are spending a lot of time on are those that only you can do; if someone else can do them so that you can focus on higher level company needs, then you should consider how you can delegate them
- Plan and organize your meetings. Meetings should start at a certain time, end when they are finished, focus on specific topics and have specific outcomes. If a five minute meeting is appropriate, then don’t make it a half hour meeting just because.
There are many others. These are a few that have helped me over the years. If you look at them, you can see how all of them will save the company money and increase productivity.
Yes, they will take a while to implement. It will require a different type of thinking in some cases, that could be classified under organizational development (OD). However, it can be done if you and your team are on the same page, diligent, committed to the goal and see the benefits of the outcome.
It will all be worth it.
What are some ideas that you might share for getting more done in less time? Are there other signs of disorganization that you have noticed plaguing your organization? Do you feel like you can overcome the challenges, or that organization is just a mountain that you are not going to climb? Can you see where a return on investment might sway your thinking?
Given what it takes to run a business and build something that is successful, it would be worth your time to make the investment. Any business can be extraordinary. Being organized is one of the things that it takes to get there.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results. We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
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