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Entries in business management (9)


Quality vs. Quantity

Which of the two circus performances most appeal to you:

  • A fast-paced performance of many smaller acts. They start quickly, get to the point and then are gone almost as quickly. Your mind races to keep up with all that you are experiencing-and is exhausted after the show.
  • A moderately-paced performance that has fewer acts, but that are of significant length and complexity. Your mind is able to evaluate, analyze and reflect on each performance, and the skills of the performers in them. You are still mentally exhausted after the show, but leave with a feeling that you have experienced something meaningful.

The answer, for most of us, is the second performance. Strangely enough, though, we carry out our work days more like the first one. We dart from ring to ring, performing a quick task, and then jumping from that ring to another just long enough to do something else. Quality takes a back seat to sheer quantity.

Imagine your work day more like the second performance. You take more time to strategically plan each task. You aren't as concerned about gettting everything done as much as you are focused on accomplishing the right things. Quality is your main concern.

This dynamic tension of quality vs. quantity is critical for leaders or managers to grasp as well. People can be extremely busy (quantity) but are they really productive (quality)? And if you don't know the answer to that question, it may be time for you to spend a little more time thinking about your role as ringmaster of your department, team or organization.



The Three Rings Are All Important To Employees

Stacy Argoudelis with the Essex Companies has written a strong piece about the need to engage an employee by recognizing the "total person," or as we would say in Juggling Elephants, all 3 rings. She writes:

Today’s employee is looking for the whole package when it comes to employment. Offering competitive salaries and benefits doesn’t spell retention in all cases. Acknowledging the unique, personal sides of an employee and recognizing their need to develop a rewarding, satisfying worklife are keys to keeping a full, thriving staff.

She also highlights the benefit of a rejuvenated current employee instead of having to hire and train a new employee.

You can read the entire article by clicking here.


Check Your Priorities

In a survey by Booz & Company, 64% of executives said that "their biggest frustration factor is having too many conflicting priorities." That is easy to understand and even relate to especially when most all of us are faced with limited time and resources. If we had unlimited time and unlimited resources, their would be no frustration because we would have the means to accomplish all of our priorities (there would be no conflict).
It is easy to get frustrated as you face work/life balance issues. Because we have limited time and resources we are torn between the conflict of taking care of things at work as well as having quality "acts" in our relationships; not to mention taking care of ourselves.
As we say in our book, "Juggling Elephants" you have to pick and choose, because there are no shortages of acts that can be a part of your circus. The secret is to be proactive, prioritize and plan what activities you are going to include in your life rather than, a) being frustrated as priorities come into conflict or b) allowing nature or someone else to determine what YOUR priorities are.
The same goes for organizations. There would be a lot fewer frustrated executives if leadership would better define strategy and priorities thus reducing conflicting possibilities. Creating a personal or organizational strategy is not easy. It takes time and energy (two limited resources). But the investment is worth it in the long run.


Key To Being A Best Place Work?.... has just published its 50 Best Places To Work. The results are based on employee feedback and input provided anonymously. The top 5 companies were:

  • Southwest Airlines
  • General Mills
  • Slalom Consulting
  • Bain and Company
  • McKinsey and Company

One effective feature of the list is that you can click on a company and see what makes it a best place to work. There are a number of recurring themes, including:

  • Employees are given opportunities for growth.
  • The workplace environment is fun and positive.
  • My ideas are valued.

If any part of your job includes managing other people, I strongly encourage you to spend a few minutes going through the list and finding some fresh ideas to help improve the performance of your people. Who knows? One day your company may make the list.


Tips for Those Making Their Own Work Ring

USA Today had an insightful article recently entitled, Teen Entrepreneurs Offer Tips To Peers On Starting A Business. While the focus of the article was teen-oriented businesses, the tips are relevant for anyone building their own work ring. They included:

  • Don't let shortcomings thwart you
  • Expand upon your interests
  • Create a formal business plan
  • Scour for savings
  • Price wisely
  • Make taxes less taxing
  • Create a sound financial plan
  • Don't over invest in supplies/equipment
  • Promote your business and yourself
  • Know the rules
  • Carve out personal time
  • Stick with your dream