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***For Karl McCracken's personal (mainly triathlon) blog, please visit This blog is an alternative way for you to get access to our TeamTips series of articles. TeamTips is a short, fortnightly article that's aimed at TeamLeaders. Each edition covers a subject that's important for Team Leaders' performance - both in technical issues and man-management.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We’re Special - You Can’t Systemise us! (1)

Why it’s Important

A lot of people thrive on the creative ‘buzz’ of their workplace. Every day represents new challenges, full of opportunities to learn. There’s never a dull moment, and although to an outsider, it could look like disorganised chaos, that’s just because outsiders don’t understand ‘the system’. Things like . . .
  • The little pile of project files that everyone has on their desk - because they work on several different jobs at once
  • The Post-Its™ that everyone has around their monitor - as reminders of important information and a means of communicating things like phone messages
  • The independently managed address books everyone keeps. The business is about client relationships, so individual contacts matter!
But look below the surface at each of these. People can only work on one job at a time, so the pile of files is a distraction from what you should be doing, and a place to lose files other people need. Post-Its™ around the monitor are a visual distraction from what you should be concentrating on, and the fact that they’ve been left there doesn’t mean they’ve been read! Those personal address books mean that when someone moves, you have multiple ‘databases’ to update - its easy to forget one of these, like the billing address!

Dealing with all this means you spend more and more time on things that just don’t add value. Worse still, it means that dealing with all this other stuff could actually get in the way of adding value, meaning that you never actually get to do the things the customer’s paying for.

With a system to take care of all this ‘stuff’, you could be free to concentrate on what matters. Like the things that customers would be willing to pay for if you listed them as separate line items on an invoice.

Next: Seven Tips


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