Sunday, June 26, 2016

How Processes and Procedures Influence Our Judgements

Processes and procedures have an impact on the way we think and judge situations. These processes and procedures become vantage points that define our thoughts and courses of actions. Businesses that seek to develop the best organizations need to ensure that the policies and procedures are well developed and understand their long tail impact. The same lessons of an organization can be applied to any private or public institution.

Consider how behavior becomes pattern. For the vast majority of us, we act and react without thinking purposely about how we should be behaving or thinking in that situation. We rely on our previous modes of thoughts and patterns to make our decisions and actions. Policies and procedures define and reflect our modes of thought.

Policies and procedures are a method of accomplishing goals and set a tone and value for all decisions thereafter. As the people in the organization learn and integrate policies and procedures into their viewpoints they begin to believe these structures have validity beyond being only one course of action. They seem real but are only man made mental constructs that are limited in scope.

These systems work great when they operate unchallenged and in an environment that is stagnant. However, the world doesn't really work this way. Policies must change when new situations arise, or when things happen that are outside of the "normal". They are only a standard mode that works in a standard situation and fall apart or become defunct unique situations.

Policies and procedures should be revisited every time a major environmental change occurs or when new situations arise that truly don't apply well to existing processes. As the procedures are updated they become more accurate, more adaptive, and reflective of "truth" and the world in which we live.

Stagnant policies are part of stagnant organizations that will soon suffer the weight of their own inability to adjust to their environment. While the majority of people within an organization should follow the policies those with decision making authority should question the logic of policies on a regular basis. Finding new ways of doing things will make both the organization and the people who live within that structure more adaptive.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Eating for Health - Acai Bowls

Acai Bowls are a popular food item in California and have spread to many other regions. The fruit is known to carry some health benefits that make it ideal as a breakfast or as a snack.  Being a berry it has advantages in improving overall health while reducing the amount of toxins in the body. Each time we choose one alternative over another we can be adding or detracting from our fitness.

Consider the many choices that lead to obesity. Eating deep friend foods that are loaded with saturated fat and calories isn't likely going to do you much good for weight loss. Trying to find alternatives like salads, fruits, and nuts can make a big difference.

Acia is fruit that has been known to detox the body, aid in weight loss, and protect against cancer. As an alternative it is one of the best. It isn't a cure all but is one alternative among the many alternatives available for breakfast. Some have even argued that it has anti aging effects much like wine.

The nice thing about Acia is that it can be mixed with so many different alternatives. For example, granola, nuts, banana, chocolate, coconut, berries, hemp, bee pollen and lots of other things can be easily added to enhance the taste. The versatility of Acia makes it idea for smoothies and bowls. Prices run from $5 to $8 in most places.

Always Under Promise and Over Deliver

Have you ever had a salesperson promise you something and then give you less than expected? The worst mistake people can make is over promise and under deliver. It is a sure sign to disappointment. Under promising and over delivering is beneficial, not only in sales, but also in just about every other aspect of your career.

I have seen managers over promise and under delivery. When they do make promises they will have a difficult time keeping they push their employees to fill the gaps of their mistakes creating artificial crisis. As these crisis continue the employee begin to feel less than satisfied with their work.

Beyond personnel issues is the problem of meeting those deliverables under artificial time frames. The more you promise things you can't deliver, the more risk you have of not meeting those objectives. This will reflect poorly on you and the consistency of your output.

Work quality also consistently becomes weaker over times. Trying to complete projects in short pace also encourages shortcut taking and forgetfulness of details. The quality of the work and the satisfaction of the customer is based in those details and offering something others don't have.

Whether you are working in sales, a project, or even with your families it is important to under promise and over deliver. Beat people's expectations every time and you will find that they will not only trust what you have to say but they will also believe you are more competent then you might actual be. Your reputation as a person who can deliver high quality work rises.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Managers Dilemma---When Are You Racing to Nowhere?

Are you really racing or treading water?

Managers who have a direction and purpose in their work find they have a long-term goal and know a path of getting there. Their work represents purposefulness and they spend time on aligning their goals to that of the organization. Unfortunately, there are also other managers who are running a race to get somewhere but have no idea where they are going.

Consider the well intentioned manager that has lots of busy work and continues to focus on expanding their projects and work until they put themselves and everyone else under stress. Most of what they do doesn't have much of a direction and likely won't help them or their organizations.

Purposefulness means that they maximize their efforts on those projects that are likely to improve on their career goals and minimize efforts on those projects that have little additive value. Being busy to be busy is a waste of time and stressful. It is better to figure out what projects have the greatest impact and spend your time making that one, or two, great.

We also come across a problem where managers don't have an idea where their career paths are leading. They must ask themselves are they doing the right things, are they seeking greater opportunities, does their organization provide a stepping stone, and are they learning the right skills. If they can't definitively say yes then they need some more work.

Taking ownership over your career can be helpful and empowering. It will allow you to start working in a purposeful manner and get more things done. It is helpful to think about your five and ten your plan and then focus on the steps you need to get there. The more busy work you throw on your plate that isnt helpful, the more you are holding yourself back.

The Need for Shared Visions in Organizations

There are millions of small actions that occur within an organization every year and these are not always aligned to the core objectives of the organization. Sometimes this is because the organization has not defined who and what they are while at other times the employees have added work that isn't necessary. Having a shared vision and ensuring people know what that vision is can be helpful.

Consider a department with multiple supervisors. In their desire to show their importance and move up the ranks they add work and align work based on what their personal preferences are. This means that there are many people who are doing work that has almost nothing to do with the actual vision of the organization.

In order to reign in the wasted effort, which in some cases can be 40 to 60% of all work that is being completed, it is necessary to share that vision and ask that people truly review what they are doing and its value to the organization. Work is just work unless it has a positive outcome and does something to contribute to the organization.

Sometimes companies use time and motion studies while at other times they simple look at the required deliverables and activities. They remove those that are related to control and encourage those that foster the organizations goals. If done well a department can become more efficient and able to complete its mission.

Steps to Alignment:

1.) Define your mission.
2.) Share your mission.
3.) Align to the mission.
4.) Reward to the mission.
5.) Reevaluate work to the mission.