Warren Buffett does not invest in businesses with “busy” managers. Yet most successful business leaders I work with are very busy people. How come?
Buffett’s hard-won experience is that Managers who follow the latest fads, hop around from one great idea to the next and live in a state of perpetual “busyness” do not create long-term value for their owners.
Effective leaders know where they want to get to and however busy they are they always make time to do the right things. In other words they avoid the “too busy to improve” syndrome and they make time to save time.
I had another great example of this yesterday, which is what prompted me to return to this theme.
I was working with an engineering company that I first worked with ten years ago. In that time the Owner-MD and his team have doubled the workforce, doubled the factory and quadrupled their turnover. Their next milestone is a further 70% growth, and they’ll achieve it. The MD has a great team around him who have made it happen, and many of them have been there for more than ten years. They’re absolutely flat out and they turn down business they don’t want.
Yet yesterday each and every production employee took an hour out of their working day for “non-productive” work. What they did was get together in small workgroups to identify wastes, inefficiencies and barriers to progress, brainstorm improvement ideas and then use “Ease and Effect” to create a prioritised improvement plan.
By 4.30 pm we’d combined the ideas from all five workgroups (nearly 50 people) and created a prioritised factory-wide improvement plan. Over the next three months at least half of those ideas will be implemented and they’ll increase productivity by at least 10%.
And the easiest thing to do instead would have been what most companies do – spend all of their time working inefficiently and spend no time on improvement.
The moral of the story? However busy you are you’ve got to make time to improve. If you’re flat out, bring in some help and concentrate on short, sharp activities that will make you more productive and more efficient. Result: more productivity, more output, less effort and more time to improve.
So here’s the shameless “plug”: The company mentioned above is achieving these results by taking part in Nicholson Consultancy’s Rapid Results Programme. If you own or run a UK Manufacturing business and you think you might benefit from a short, sharp improvement project like this, follow the link to find out more about the Rapid Results Programme (opens in a new window), or email info at ImproveMyFactory dot com.
Rapid Results Programme Leader