Company Productivity/Organizational Complexity

Mergers and Acquisitions: A Recipe for Disaster?

So, big buzz in my office this past month: the number one player in our industry signed on the dotted line to purchase a huge up-and-come-er, mostly because of its e commerce success.  Our team members, and the team members of other industry players, watched the whole thing happen with eyes open wide.  Our competitor bought the company for an exorbitant amount of money.

Thing is, the company they bought is less than five years old and lost $100 million last year.

Our deep-pocketed competitor has acquired other e commerce companies in the past, and the results were not necessarily to their benefit.  They weren’t able to get their plans off the ground, and eventually the company, its mission and its success was just folded in with their larger counterpart’s business-as-usual practices.  Their mergers were not star-studded successes.

This is why my interest was piqued when I found an article in the June 2016 issue of Harvard Business Review, “M&A: The One Thing You Need to Get Right.”  In it, author Roger L. Martin states, “M&A is a mug’s game: typically 70%-90% of acquisitions are abysmal failures.”

UmpteenWhen I search the internet and other sources, I find that Martin is not alone in his opinion, but his declaration is out there a little further and a little bolder than most.  When companies look to obtain value for themselves – access to a new market or capability – they’re spotting the same opportunity that other companies see, and the value of that opportunity will be lost in the bidding war.  He says that when a company acquires or seeks to merge with another company to take what they have, the merger is not likely to be as successful as when they look to infuse the acquired company’s assets with their own to make it more successful.

When the company I work for was acquired by a private investment capital firm, they were looking to do exactly that.  They looked at our company as an investment and they did everything Martin recommended:

They were smart providers of capital – They wanted to see our company grow so their investment would pay off.  They provided capital so we could expand our national footprint with new locations, improve our distribution center, and so on.

They provided better managerial oversight – When our owners purchased us, we didn’t really have expertise in place.  They allowed us access to their marketing experts, their legal team, and so on.  They helped us hire our own experts and stand on our own two feet as a growing company in a whole new league from where we were before.  They managed us like a larger business, and we became one because of it.

They shared resources – Our investor’s collection of companies allowed us access to fabulous discounts and buying power we didn’t have before.

I don’t think our competitor purchased this company because they wanted to give the company an injection of their money and skills.  In fact, this acquired company was stealing customers right out from under them.  Our competitor is buying their customers back.  But the acquired company has converted them into unprofitable online customers, and the parent company is now going to be charged with the miracle of making those customers profitable again.

It remains to be seen if this will be a success or a failure.

Revolutionary Assistants aren’t often involved in mergers and acquisitions, and if we are we’re pushing the paper and watching it all fall in place from the sidelines.  But if your company is involved in a merger, whether you’re the buyer or the seller, it pays to know a little bit about what you’re looking at.  Take a moment to ask your manager to explain the circumstances, see if it passes the above test for success.  You might be surprised at what you find.

 

Next Post:  Wednesday, July 12

Open Workspaces – Couldn’t They Be a Little More Closed?

My office is in the midst of a remodel right now, and the plans are to take away my 72” cubicle walls and make them 48” so I can see all 45 of the co-workers sitting around me. I’m so thrilled about the new layout that I’m wondering how many days I’m going to have to work at home in order to get something done.

Now, I have some of the world’s best co-workers and we’re not likely to go around interrupting each other throughout the day just because our walls a little bit lower. But when a recent Gallup survey shows us that only 11% of workers consider themselves truly “engaged,” and noise and lack of privacy are workers’ chief complaints, why do we keep pushing for the “open, collaborative environment”?

Open office spaceThe words alone make me shiver.

It’s not just about the noise, though the noise in an office with no cubicles to absorb and block is bad enough. Back in 2010, author Patrick Skerrett (HBR, November, 2010) analyzed fifteen different noise studies and concluded that noise disrupts concentration, decreases productivity, and increases stress. It also isn’t good for blood pressure and your cardiovascular system.

My coworkers default to earbuds, and sometimes full-on headphones, to beat the distracting noise and ward off would-be intruders. Often, they aren’t even listening to any music, they’re just blocking out the cacophony of phone calls and copy machine conversations going on around them. Our HR person retreats to a closet with a phone in order to have private conversations with company employees. That’s a nice option for her, but if my husband calls to let me know the dog had an accident on the carpet, the whole office knows about it.

People’s need for privacy is as instinctive as their need for mixing and conversing with others of the human race. But in a world where information sharing has become so imperative, is team work and collaboration prized above all else? Or can there still be consideration given to the more introverted co-worker who is more productive when she can produce something she’s proud to put her name on?

The answer is a fairly simple one. In a world where every person has a slightly different working style, offices should provide open work spaces and places where people can find some privacy and get work done. “The question is not whether we need privacy in our office spaces,” writes Shane Ferro in his Huffington Post article “To Work, Open Offices Need to be a Little Less Open.” “The question is how to configure the space so that workers can move to the right type of environment for whatever task they happen to be working on.”

Studies have been done by office design firms Coalesse, Steelcase, and Knoll to try to determine the best combinations of space that allow creativity to thrive and workers to keep their sanity. The answer seems to be variety. As Donna Flynn, Director of Workspace Futures at Steelcase, puts it, “A big insight from our research was that the way each person controls distractions is very different.”

When an office remodel is underway, an assistant is often involved and policing the situation. A Revolutionary Assistant can get involved, do her research, and offer suggestions that ensure privacy and open collaboration areas are available for a variety of work styles. After all, the objective is to help elevate productivity!

Next post:  Wednesday, March 30

Why Strategy Fails in Execution

Strategy Fails in ExecutionI’ve been reading my Harvard Business Review again (goshdarnit, I love my HBR!) and I came upon an interesting article in the March 2015 issue I wanted to share with you. It’s about why your company’s strategy fails in execution.

The article talks about how your organization can have the clearest, simplest objectives, the most logical and easy-to-comprehend strategy, and still, employees can’t get the job done. Why does it happen?

Authors Donald Sull, Charles Sull and Rebecca Homkes offered some interesting theories based on results of a survey taken by 8,000 managers in more than 250 companies. Here are their thoughts:

Departments work well, but not together – Apparently, companies are very good at managing up and down the silo. The operations department is charged with a task and they can work to get it done without an issue. But when accomplishing the objective relies on cross-departmental work, that’s when things get sketchy. Apparently, the minute that operations department looks to sales or distribution to complete a portion of the work, everything goes south. Managers claim that team members outside their own departments are only about as reliable as vendors. Agility across business units is a frequently neglected component.

Success doesn’t necessarily mean sticking to the plan – Too many companies put objectives down on paper and then worship it as Gospel. I loved the authors’ turn of phrase when they wrote, “No Gantt chart survives contact with reality.” That’s so true! The Grand Plan can’t anticipate every curve ball its thrown, and managers should be encouraged to deviate from the path if it means achieving success.

Don’t measure how much you communicate, measure how much the team understands – I was particularly fascinated by this one. The authors used the example of a CEO beginning her monthly meetings with a review of the objectives. But when her management team was asked to describe the firm’s strategy and objectives in their own words, fewer than 1/3 were able to cover two major points. Wow! I’m already contemplating how to fix that…

The wrong qualities are being rewarded – Most organizations reward for past performance, but findings of this survey indicate that the companies most likely to accomplish their objectives do so because their managers show great agility in responding to challenges. That particular behavior is, in many organizations, not rewarded.

Execution should be driven at every level – The article sites the importance of “distributed managers” in accomplishing objectives. These are not just managers that lead disciplines and navigate cross-functional areas well, but also technical and domain experts who are key influencers in getting things done.

So, there are where the problems lie. What to do about them? This the Revolutionary question that needs answering. Is your manager looking out for these land mines?

 

How Much Time Is Your Organization Wasting A Day?

I’ve been back on the Harvard Business Review blog, this time reading a great entry called, “Quantify How Much Time Your Company Wastes.”  Of course, I wanted to know how much time my company wastes and what I, as a Revolutionary Assistant, can do to stop all this shenanigans!

The article narrows in on how hard it is for an employee to get any time to focus.  They cited the example of one IT manager they followed, who interfaced with eight different teams a day, spent 35 hours in meetings, and spent 85% of the time in those meetings checking and responding to emails.  Thinking about just that example, it’s a wonder that anything gets done correctly and well!

Writer Ryan Fuller went on to say that, once interrupted, it takes approximately 15 minutes to return to productivity.  And, furthermore, it takes 30 minutes of uninterrupted time before one can call himself productive.  So, if you do the math, you need about two hours of time to get an hour of uninterrupted work.

So what’s to be done?  If those are two big reasons why work isn’t getting accomplished, perhaps we, as Revolutionary Assistants can do something about it.  Here are some thoughts:

Schedule meetings in blocks, either at the beginning or at the end of a day – It makes sense that larger blocks of time will encourage productivity, so try to create larger blocks of time by pushing all your meetings together at the beginning and the end of the day.  Even if you have six hours of meetings on one day, getting them all done by 3PM means at least two hours of productive time for your team.  Better yet, if you can schedule all your meetings so that you have a day of the week that’s open, that would give them a full eight hours!

Keep meetings on time – Nothing creates stress more than meetings that don’t end when they’re supposed to.  When you’re in attendance, make sure that everyone’s sticking to the agenda and keeping within their time allotment.  This will keep your hour-long meeting from becoming 90 minutes and running over someone else’s meeting.

Have a “computers closed” and “phones off” rule – If that IT manager is spending 85% of his meeting time answering emails, then he can’t possibly be paying much attention in the meeting.  You’ll get more done – and get it done faster – if everyone’s attention is on the subject of the meeting instead of their emails or mobile phones.

Protect your manager’s productivity with “office hours” – I actually learned this while I was at Google, and I don’t know why more companies don’t do it.  Just like your professors in college, block off an hour or so a day for planned interruptions.  Anyone can walk in and get your manager’s advice, get their problem solved…and then he can be left alone for the rest of the day.  Sure, that might not happen, but instead of 17 interruptions during your manager’s free time, maybe you’ll only see three or four.  And that’s not as bad!

Mind the context of your meetings and bunch like topics together – Apparently, some fragmentation occurs with employees when they have to shift gears from project A to project B and back again.  If you have all of project A’s meetings bunched together, this will help your employees be more productive around that topic.

All of this is easier said than done.  There are other, external factors that drive meeting times, like the availability of data and other resources.  But any attempt to take these steps is better than none at all, and the more you accomplish on this list, the more productive your team will be!

Next Post:  Wednsday, July 2

Let’s Talk!: An Organizational Complexity Summary

Whether your organization’s complexity comes from buying carrots from three different growers, or whether it comes from a decision that’s been made somewhere else that affects what you do and how you do it, it stands in the way of getting work done.  You, as the Revolutionary Assistant, stand FOR getting work done, so it’s natural to want to take action!

I encourage you to strive to understand better what’s going on in your own company, and look at the full, bird’s-eye view…how is what you’re doing affecting the rest of the organization, and how are they affecting you?  Any time you’re doing something that feels useless and unnecessary, take a closer look.  You may not be the only one that benefits from the results!

Hopefully, you’ve joined us on Facebook and Twitter, so you can benefit from some of the other side discussions we’re having on this topic!  It’s a great place to find out about other resources and reading material that can help you with corporate complexity.

If you have any other questions and comments, I’d love to hear them!

 

Next Post:  Tuesday, September 20

Protecting Your Manager from Organizational Complexity

We’ve talked a lot about organizational complexity now, how it can be structurally oriented, product oriented…even manager oriented, but we’ll really dig into that later. Many times, a Revolutionary Assistant can apply her expertise and streamline that complexity, creating more productivity and better employee morale. But other times, there’s nothing to be done. The problem is bigger than you, and it’ll be a long time before things are can be untangled.

Don’t stop trying, of course! If complexity is the size of Mt. Everest, find yourself a Sherpa and prepare to conquer. But in the meantime, you need to poise yourself to shield your manager and your team from the tangled processes that are going to eat their precious time. Some thoughts on how you can make their corporate world seem an easier one to navigate:

The buck stops at your desk – Make yourself one stop shopping for your manager and take one for the team. If you know that it’s going to take five days and ten phone calls to get a purchase order number, don’t send a member of the team off to accomplish it. Let your manager and his group think that the process is easy, because all they have to do is stop at your desk to get it started. (How little they know!)

Push for more useful meetings for your manager’s team – We’ve talked a lot about meetings, and how if your manager is meeting with someone, she’s not getting any work done. So make sure every meeting is a useful one for her and for her team. And if you think a meeting isn’t a good use of her time but someone has to attend, volunteer yourself to go!

Diagram projects and goals – We talked quite a bit about meetings and their formation around cyclical processes, but all of that drawing can be quite useful when it comes to projects and goals as well. Getting a visual of the steps you’re taking toward a particular accomplishment is always a help, so that you don’t become a South Park Underwear Gnome! Drawing the full picture will help you see where you might be missing a step or where you might need input to keep the project going.

Use your professional relationships – In the spirit of the buck stopping at your desk, whenever you know the person that’s able to help with a particular situation, call that person yourself rather than send your manager or a team member to talk to him. It allows you the opportunity to develop and nurture your network as well as offer that “one stop shopping” feel for you manager and team.

Position yourself as the “go to” person – Whenever I hear a tale of woe from one of my manager’s direct reports, I always say, “You should have come to me, I would have taken care of that for you.” I continually communicate that I am the source of administrative knowledge in our department in hopes that it will inspire our team to come to me with their issues. If it’s off their mind and on mine, they are more productive, and content to know that I’m handling it.

Even a Revolutionary Assistant can’t annihilate organizational complexity. It’s everywhere. You can identify it, solve some of it and create work-arounds for the rest, but it’s never going to go away, because new forms of complexity are being created in your organization every day. Deal with that fact of life by solving what you can and standing in front of the rest of it, so your manager and team can’t see how unproductive they could truly be!

Next post:  Thursday, September 15

Projects Without Clear Goals and the Complexity They Create

Company-wide initiatives and small, one-day projects can both suffer from the most egregious of all complexity crimes – lack of clear goals.  Sending people off to do busy work with no defined results, no process for reporting back, and no general direction is damaging and costs companies a lot of money every year.  We touched on this idea earlier in our discussion about Your Manager’s Deadly Communication Sins, but it bears further discussion.  The Revolutionary Assistant can have tremendous impact here and positively affect the outcomes of efforts across the organization.

Big or small, when you’re involved in managing a project (or whether your manager is the one doing the overseeing!), ensure its success by thinking about these things:

What’s the project objective? – A vice president tells his group, “We’ve learned that people are coming to our website and doing X.  Let’s see what we can do to change that!”  Well, what was the desired behavior, if X wasn’t it?  Presenting a better objective to the group might go something like this: “We learned that people are coming to our website only on days when we offer a downloadable coupon.  Let’s see what we can do to drive traffic on other days, especially when we’re advertising our best products.”  That’s a far better objective: Drive traffic without offering discounts.

What does success look like? And when does it need to happen? – These are the actual goals of the project themselves.  If the vice president thinks success is 20% more traffic on days when a coupon isn’t offered, that needs to be established and declared. After all, other people might think success is 10%.  Same holds true for the timeframe in which this effort will take place: 20% more traffic on days without a coupon by the time the holiday season starts.  Be as specific as possible where the measurement metrics are concerned.

Does everyone agree on the goals? – Take a look around the group and make sure that everyone involved thinks that 20% = success.  Just because the vice president has decided that’s the number doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gospel, and if other people in the room disagree, they’re not necessarily going to speak up.  It’s the quiet dissenters in the room that are going to damage the project’s progress if this isn’t addressed right away.  Of course, this is something management should ferret out, but as a Revolutionary Assistant you can certainly be paying attention here!

Is the objective and intent of the project well communicated? – Once you’ve landed on the project’s objectives and goals, they should be communicated via the head/hands/heart method we talked about in our conversations about employee communication. Every player in the project needs to be clear on what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and what his or her role is in getting it accomplished.  (And they should love the idea, by the way!)

Are there milestones for the project? – Milestones are especially important if the initiative is a long one.  Just like losing 50 pounds, it’s a long, ugly and painful process.  Nothing but suffering between the words, “I’m going on a diet” and the day you get on that scale and realize you’ve reached your goal weight.  Set interim goals to make sure that you’re on target, and to make sure that the staff keeps their eye on the prize.  And celebrate them!

Are there regular reviews scheduled? – Like we talked about in our cyclical meeting processes, meetings for key players should be scheduled at times that make sense to the project.

Are report-outs simple and appropriate for the level of management reviewing? – It’s likely that management will want to know the progress of the project, so reporting out should be regular and make sense to the people who are reviewing it.  It’s possible that a front-line manager needs lots of data, but the vice president probably only needs a high-level summary.  Make sure reports are done when necessary, given to the people who need them, and take up just as much time as they have to – and not a minute more.  Piece of cake, right?  If necessary, enlist the help of other administrative assistants to help summarize and distribute this information.

Is the end result being tracked? – This seems like a no-brainer, but not everyone keeps their eye on the prize.  Just like a milestone, plan on arriving at that finished product and celebrating when you get there!

This might not seem like such hard stuff, maybe you do this all the time in your administrative role.  It’s important to understand, though, that this particular process scales from something small, like changing the way the finance department processes check requests, all the way up to something huge, like a business changing the way its customers see it in the marketplace.  Problem is, as the project gets larger in scope, there are more moving parts to track, more people that need to buy in.  Whether your task is a goldfish or a whale, remember these components and where murky expectations can sink you!

Next post:  Tuesday, September 13

Using Professional Relationships to Navigate Organizational Complexity

My manager decided that he wants to travel to China.

Now, I’ve sent people all over Europe, to Japan, to Malaysia, even.  But never to China.  Never anyplace where we needed to get a…gulp…visa.

Mind you, if I can arrange for a manager to fly to France, Italy, and England with a two-day stop-over in New York both there and back, I can get a silly visa.  No worries.  All I need to do is contact some department in our vast organization to get a letter, and then send it…someplace.

Being new to the company, it took me the whole flippin’ day to find the right people at our main office to write that letter.  I did a search of our intranet and found a site that said, “Talk to the people in our travel department!”  So I sent out an email to our travel department.  The travel department responded, saying, “Talk to our legal department!”  I sent out an email to our legal department, who promptly told me, “Talk to our policy department!”  No one said, “I’m not the right person, but I’ll find out who is.”  Everyone passed the buck.  (They were clearly not reading this blog).

I realized that, new to the company, I made a big mistake.  Sometimes corporate complexity cannot be solved, and when that happens, you need to navigate it.  I had not established the relationships that would help me navigate this newly unearthed complexity.  And I needed to get on that right away.  Who are the most important people to rely on during times like these?  Here are some things I decided to do:

Study the org chart – I work for a really big company, so this isn’t the easiest thing to do, unless you do it intelligently.  Start at the top, and look at the big execs and their direct reports.  Where would “travel” logically fall?  Probably in purchasing or procurement, right?  Is there an assistant there?  Time to pick up the phone and give that person a call!

No matter what the situation, you can usually find someone that has some good suggestions by looking at where that particular discipline falls. Have a facilities problem?  Most companies take care of facilities and real estate out of the finance area.  So contact the CFO’s assistant.  She knows everything.  We assistants always do.  And that brings me to…

Introduce yourself to the entire assistant network – Mine was not the first manager to decided he needed to go to China.  I am the only assistant in my little satellite office, but not the only one in the company.  And probably not the first to send out a blanket email that said, “HELP!!”  It worked well, and I met several people who could lead me in the right direction.  Other assistants cc’d on the message had been quietly worrying about getting their managers to China, so I was not the only beneficiary of this conversation.

Get to know the old-timers – I call them this loosely, but what I mean is to find some people who have a long history with the company and get to know them well.  Don’t just limit yourself to other administrative employees here.  I find those people who were with a company in its infancy are particularly helpful, as they’ve been able to watch the company grow and change.  Someone who sits nearby overheard my conversation and said, “I remember back in the day, that task used to be taken care of out of a small executive travel department.  You might want to try so-and-so…he might know where that service ended up.”   I love people who know about things that happened back in the day, and so-and-so is the most helpful person in the entire company.

There are millions more examples of how you can rely on your network to help you figure out where you’re going.  My network got me to where I needed to be, but a little later than it should have.  I will be wiser next time.  And now I know that the Chinese Consulate does not trust me to put on my own visa sticker, either.  Live and learn!

Next Post:  Thursday, September 8

Ridding Yourself of Unnecessary Communications

Every morning, I come into the office and find 40 emails in my inbox, patiently awaiting my attention.  And I have found that, while it takes me an hour to read all forty of them, really only three of them need my attention.

Roughly calculated, you might assume that only about 13% of the emails I receive are important.  And you’d be assuming correctly.

Communication habits and structures within a company can add unneeded layers of complexity to your life.  Emails, meetings, PowerPoint presentations and report distribution procedures are hovering over you, ready to make your life miserable.  But as a Revolutionary Assistant, you can address these pesky obstacles, making your organization more productive than ever.

Emails – If you’re like me, you’re on myriad distribution lists for teams and groups you aren’t really all that interested in.  Once upon a time, you may have participated in an activity where you needed to know what a particular group was up to, but that ship has long since sailed.  So get yourself out of those distribution lists, and encourage other admins and group owners to take a look at those lists.  At one of my organizations we dedicated a day to cleaning up lists and files, which inevitably increased productivity.  Consider doing something like that for your company!

Also, if you have associates that are perpetual “cc’ers,” have a quick talk with them to see if you can encourage more focused communications.

Remember, too, that once you’ve addressed your own inbox, you can address the inboxes of your manager and her team!

Meetings – If your manager is a big fan of connecting with people on a regular basis, take a step back and look at those meetings carefully.  If your manager is the VP of Marketing, does she really need to meet weekly with the VP of HR? Unless staffing is an issue or a reorganization is imminent, probably not.  Always be on the lookout for the gathering that’s not needed.  Get agendas for every large-group meeting on the calendar and review them to make sure that they have a specific focus and realistic expectations for outcomes.  If not, it’s likely people’s time is being wasted.

Report distribution – I worked at an organization where a fellow assistant worked tirelessly on Tuesdays to print and copy a large report for 30 or 40 of the company’s executives.  Little did she know that the needs of the group had changed and most of them were no longer interested in that report.  This wasn’t just a waste of paper, it was a waste of the assistant’s time, a waste of filing space…

It’s important to continually examine the need for report distribution.  Whether it’s a hard copy or electronic report distribution, it’s important that information gets into the right hands, with no bleed over.

Death by PowerPoint – If your manager is keeping his staff 20 minutes longer than necessary going through 20 extra Powerpoint slides, that’s 20 minutes they can’t spend productively elsewhere.  Remember our employee communication discussions and how they related to productivity!

By helping your manager and her team sift out the important communications from the riff raff, you can help the entire group be more productive.  Extend that a step further to help out the rest of the organization, and you’ll be helping the company make more money!  It’s the Revolutionary Assistant’s way!

Next post:  Thursday, September 1

Meetings and Process Complexity – Part 2

So we’ve just done a visual study of what your employee survey cyclical process looks like.  Already, we can see that we’re spinning our wheels – spending way more time in meetings than we should, and maybe not enough time meeting at times when we really need to be together.  Meetings with poor productivity are employee morale killers and just a waste of time. Let’s help fix it.

Reviewing our objectives in the last post, we should consider having team meetings at times when we need to take action on survey results or give support to the process.  In talking with the team and your manager, you’ve determined that the team needs to convene at the following times:

  • When the survey results come in, to review and discuss distribution of results to regional teams
  • After results distribution to regional teams, to discuss feedback and plans for new training or organizational changes that might improve results
  • Before the new survey is translated into other languages for launch, so we can make any changes to questions
  • Prior to launch, to address any issues from third-party survey vendor

It seems like our new meeting structure should look like this:

The team could clearly spend an hour together four times within the six month cycle of the employee engagement survey and support the process very adequately.  This new process would save nine hours of meetings for each individual, or 216 working hours per year.  (Multiply that by the average wage of your participants and see how much money you’re wasting!)

There’s still the question of the vice president’s participation in the survey meetings.  Currently, he’s meeting monthly with the entire team.  Your manager, however, feels comfortable doing a “report out” meeting with the vice president on his own, based on feedback and discussion he has had during the cycle with the regional representatives.

Great!  Done!

No, not quite. If your manager is enthused about overhauling this process, it’s time to examine the roles of the participants.  By making sure that each participant understands performance expectations at each point in the cycle, you can ensure that the work gets done.  Your manager should figure heavily in defining those roles, so the team can maximize productivity.  While you’re thinking about that, think about the other players that might be valuable in some of these meetings.  Are you including everyone who really has a stake?

There.  Finished.

Again, not quite.  I’d like to say, “Now we’re done!” but really, the work here is never done.  Think for a moment about how your organization’s employee engagement survey process got so murky to begin with.  The team had elected to check in weekly for 30 minutes the first couple of times they launched the survey.  Once the process was successfully underway, the meetings were no longer needed, but never adjusted.  What was once a necessary evil became a time-eating complication.  These kinds of things happen in companies all the time – something gets started, and then no new consideration is given to the process once it’s underway.

You could take this a step further.  Also to be pondered would be the biannual survey itself.  Most companies don’t do a survey like this more than once a year.  Is your organization really benefitting from doing two?  Best practices would say no…eliminating a round of those surveys would save even more time and money.

These aren’t all your problems, I know, but they’re administrative questions to be asked and things a Revolutionary Assistant can impact.  Think about your cyclical processes, how you make decisions around them and what could be done to refine them.  This is the kind of thinking a Revolutionary Assistant can do to reduce complication and increase her value in the workplace.

Next post:  Tuesday, August 30