“A leader is not an administrator who loves to run others, but one who carries water for his people so that they can get on with their jobs” ~Robert Townsend
When you are looking to help your people so they can do their job better, you have to look at their tools and the processes surrounding them. I recommend you ask yourself one simple question: Is it better than what they could buy for their own use at home? Trust me, your employees are asking the same question.
Your employees want to do a good job, and they want to do it as quickly and easily as possible (If not, well, you’ve got bigger problems than I can cover here). When they see obvious areas of needed improvement (i.e. what they have at home, or what they could do themselves is better) they will usually speak up because it seems so ridiculous to them. Here’s a couple of good examples: Is your company’s Intranet faster than broadband? Do you have access to a wide variety of materials quickly and cost efficiently? What about apps? Have you tapped into that market yet? If not, your company is at a strategic disadvantage to its competitors.
But how do you do it? It’s not like companies are set up for this level of flexibility usually, otherwise there wouldn’t be an issue in the first place. To actually put some of these good things in place once you’ve identified then requires four things as I see it:
- A “thinking outside the box” attitude
- You’ll most likely be doing something different than what has usually been done in the company. So be ready to break some molds.
- An understanding of the process as it stands now
- You can’t understand the impact of your change (positive and negative) if you don’t understand how the process works now.
- An ability to show an accurate ROI
- If you’re looking to add new tools or do things a different way than the “Standard Operating Procedure” you need to show what the return is on the change. If there isn’t a savings in money (or time) you aren’t going to get far.
- And usually a reasonable boss
- Usually these changes/tools are not rocket science, but they are different, and different is dangerous to many bosses.
So ask whether the tools your people are using at work are better than what they have at home, or whether the processes are better than what they could do themselves. Use this as a baseline and you’ll identify some immediate opportunities for improvement.