Last week I received a cartoon by Artell, over social media. The cartoon showed a group of people sitting around a conference table with this caption:
I need your sales forecasts by Monday, your updated client list by Tuesday, your expense reports by Wednesday and your budget plans by Thursday. And by the way – why aren’t your people making more sales calls?
Immediately I smiled, nodded and found myself transported back in time. I was serving a team that was feeling a lot like that.
- The number of objectives the team was responsible for and the goals for each objective were increasing.
- We’d expected that a new database was going to increase our efficiency. And instead it significantly increased our workload.
- At the same time our volume of customers was rapidly rising and their service expectations were growing.
Like every team under pressure, we had choices:
- We could throw our hands up and surrender.
- We could make a case for changes to be made to the new database and provide detailed notes to help developers.
- We could analyze every part of our current processes and look for opportunities to improve our efficiency.
- We could benchmark with our customers and suppliers in an effort to discover solutions we had not considered.
As we weighed those choices, numero uno was quickly dismissed. Failure was not an option. Then we did everything else on the list. We called a special meeting so everyone on the team could help to create a detailed list of the processes we used the database for, where data should link that didn’t, how long it took to complete each task and how much time we actually had for those tasks. We recommended solutions. And then we shared our document. And shared it. And shared it again.
At the same time, we took an intentional step back so that we could go forward and began printing lots of documents in advance of our peak times, and used paper, instead of technology. Gasp! That decision made us significantly more efficient, more effective and provided better customer service than if we used the database that crawled and didn’t link as it should have.
Then we met with customers and they validated what we already knew. Our current tools were not going to help us meet their evolving needs. So we called one of our vendors and asked if we could come for a tour of their organization, deeply believing that answers existed. Within a few hours we had an idea to restructure our team in such a way that it would decrease the number of times that each person had to change their focus, which would increase their efficiency and effectiveness, and decrease burnout.
Our restructure was different:
- It took some time for the team to warm up to the idea.
- And it sounded nuts to the rest of the organization.
And then the RESULTS started coming in:
- The team had more focus, less stress and more energy.
- And they consistently met, and much more, frequently exceeded their goals.
Yes, the team deserved better tools and a higher level of support from the company. However, we could afford to wait for that to happen so we did what we could, with what we had, right where we were. The decision to seek the wisdom of others and the courage to make a bold change energized each person on our team and our fueled our results.
If you are in the midst of an energy sapping challenge and struggling you are not alone. This struggle is real all over our world.
For the past two years, I’ve been working with 15 Dedicated Authors from different parts of our globe< to create a book that would offer real help and hope to anyone in the midst of those struggles. Last week our new book, Energize Your Leadership was released.
Each author is an experienced corporate professional, working mother and/or a small business owner that has dealt with things like this:
- The increased use of technology that has you “plugged in” to work more often.
- Economic changes that increasingly require you to produce more with less.
- Stress caused by environment, health, and/or personal choices.
- The struggle to be physically and mentally present and engaged at home while still producing at work.
And each one has survived those energy-depleting seasons and emerged softer, stronger, wiser and more energized. If you are in the midst of an energy-depleting season, don’t let your struggle overwhelm you.
Pick up your copy today and prepare to Energize Your Leadership.