The first thing I did was look at all the time I spent “deciding” for my team. As a team we talked about how we can reduce the number of hours in the back and forth of making decisions. I made a huge leap forward and did four things. I gave them permission to make decisions. I trust my team – I have hired some very smart people that just needed to know they had permission to do what it takes to get the job done.
In the process of discussing with my team, I asked how I can support them in making those decision by themselves. They all said they need more information. When I was in the Clock Work Workshop back in January, Adrienne Dorison gave me some great ideas on how to provide that information. My favorite was giving my team a guide line to follow or what she called “Guard Rails”. For instants if you have a team member working on accounts receivable, you can give anyone a payment arrangement if they stay inside 45 days. They no longer need to come to you if the client needs a 15-day extension and has always been a good paying client.
The next thing I did was work on instilling confidence in each member of my team. When they made a decision using the guard rail or other methods we created, I have begun to praise them. I must admit my Accounting Manager, Kathy, is so much better at this than I am – BUT – I make big efforts here to notice and praise a job well done. It truly does help them make the next step in decision making without you.
Now that I have given permission, information and working on confidence boosting, I was able to do the first T – which is trim. I trimmed away the time, energy and resources used to make decisions. I had my whole team work on “trimming”. I asked them to look at their process. Is there something we can take away or minimize?
This is where I got the most time back for business development. I promoted Kathy to do the supervising of the bookkeeping team. She now does all the 1 2 1 meetings and communicating with them. She coordinates schedules, trainings and work load. You guested it – that put a huge hole in my day and gave me time to do things like write my own newsletters rather than buy “can” ones.
I began with the most important question, is there a task that you can just stop doing? After i asked myself this question, I found a very BIG time waster. We use Asana for our project management system. It tags the person doing the work and the team members following it. I found that I was deleting emails from Asana for an hour a day. Yikes… Why would I need Asana to tell me I completed a task that I just clicked off? It may need to inform the next person in line that will work on the project, but not the person that just completed the task. I took a few hours and removed ALL the tags that were unnecessary. I knew that if I was spending an hour a day, then my team was also spending an hour a day. That means I just got back 5 hours a day or 25 hours a week? No wait, that’s 100 hours a month back for actual work! What can you eliminate?