1. Unnecessary meetings. It’s practically cliché to say it at this point, but you probably have too many meetings. How many hours per week do you and your people sit in meetings, and is all that time truly better used in those meetings than if people had that time to allocate to other work? It could pay off big to take a rigorous look at where your meetings might have run amok and resolve as a team to cut back on meetings (both number of meetings and length of meetings). Even if you just shave one meeting a week off people’s schedules, that can be a significant difference that adds up.
2. Tool overload. Take a minute and do a quick accounting of the number of tools your team uses to communicate and track work. If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve probably got email, a client database, a contact management tool, a project management system, an intranet, and who knows what else. If they’re not integrated with each other and you’re logging in and out of different systems all day and some cases recording information in multiple places, not to mention training your staff how to use all of them, you’re staring at a huge inefficiency. Instead, look into solutions that combine most or all of these in one platform (like QuickBase!).
3. Focusing on process, not results. Don’t get me wrong – process matters. But it’s not an end unto itself; process only matters as far as it serves your ability to get results. If you haven’t revisited your processes in years, or if you’re assuming that the processes that work for one part of your organization should be used across the board, or if all your people will tell you that your processes are hindering them rather than helping them, it’s time to take a new look at this area.
4. Decision paralysis. Obviously you don’t want to make decisions that aren’t well-thought-out, but more often than not managers delay decisions too long – whether it’s decisions about a product or program or decisions about personnel. The longer you delay decisions, the less productive your team will be.
5. Perfectionism. Look, having a high bar matters. But not every project or task demands perfection, and the time that you spend making a not-very-high-priority deliverable flawless is time that you’re not spending on items with more impact. In many cases, getting something done reasonably quickly is more important than making it perfect. When you don’t recognize the difference, you hold your team back.
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