As a competitive cyclist and coach, I know that athletes need to spend time training in the areas that they want to improve. Carving time out of a busy schedule can be challenging for athletes training for an event or personal best, but it isn’t uncommon for recreational athletes to spend 6-8 hours per week training to develop their fitness and skills. Elite level athletes – yes, even those with families and full-time jobs – typically spend more than 12 hours per week training. What’s more, the training time per week needs to be consistent week after week to see any improvement at all. The bottom line? Improvement takes practice.
However, when I look inside small- to mid-size companies, it is rare to see any deliberate allocation of time for improvement activities… and it isn’t due to a lack of improvement objectives! New businesses spend time on growth, while established businesses spend time servicing day-to-day orders. In larger, more established businesses, we start to see meetings scheduled for improvement activities and discussions, but rarely will we see a set number or percentage of hours targeted and measured to achieve improvements.
With time targets in focus, imagine how dedicated improvement time can drive waste out of the system and result in even more available time for improvements. The effect is like turbo-charging your business, using the available energy sources to accelerate your results. Countless words have been written about how to make improvement efforts most productive, but isn’t the starting point to dedicate some time in that direction?
What about the business leader who is ready to consider how time is spent within their organization? Typically, we would start with an open and collaborative workshop comprised of a few team members. After setting some definitions for a few categories of activities, we can conduct some simple time-tracking for a short period of time to gain further insight into how employees are spending their time. Even the initial workshop goes a long way toward creating a common language among participants, and often results in a few immediate changes as team members become more self-aware of how they’re spending their time.
If you’re interested in exploring this topic further, and how your team might benefit from its application, don’t hesitate to reach out for further discussion. I always value connecting with local business leaders like you.