Business Coach: Winning with a Fast Start
(Originally published on June 12, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)
By Ruben Anlacan Jr.
In many sports, like the 100-meter dash, a fast start is critical to achieving victory. Although a business is more of a marathon than a sprint, a daily dose of fast starts would add up to a substantial competitive advantage.
This is especially true now when the performance gap between companies is becoming narrower with intense competition.
Increasing productivity is one of the most vital tasks of managers and entrepreneurs, but how do you do it without breaking your budget? Dealing with wasted minutes early in the morning is the proverbial low-hanging fruit. It is easy to see that in most companies the first few minutes of the working day are the least efficient—this is mostly because people feel that the minutes lost are negligible.
Reversing this entrenched belief needs a small dose of managerial will for you to shake off your company’s lethargic mornings. And vital to one’s motivation is by looking at the advantages of a fast-paced morning:
• Having a fast start daily would total to a big amount in a year’s time. An additional fifteen minutes per day for twenty employees would amount to 165 days for a 22-day work month.
• There is less stress when you start early. When employees finish early, there is less tension, better work accuracy, and more tasks are completed. A word of caution: this does not mean that employees should be encouraged to log in unpaid time.
• Early callers would get better service. Often there are customers who call early, and most times they are not served well because the person who took the call just arrived and is not prepared.
• A fast start sets the pace for the entire day. It is normal to see the fast momentum of the first few minutes get carried over to the rest of the day.
• Starting before there are interruptions increases productivity. You get several more minutes of uninterrupted time to focus on your work.
• Additional time would be freed up for other things. A single employee that saves 15 minutes a day would have accumulated five and a half hours extra time within a month.
To fast-track your application, here are several tips to jumpstart your efforts on how to make your subordinates fast starters:
• Educate them on the positive results of the program. The most important thing to do is to sell the idea to your workforce. If they see this as nothing but an attempt to get more work from them, with no additional benefits, then many would not be enthusiastic. To be credible, you must be able to present concrete advantages like lesser backlogs.
• Change your procedures to enable people to start fast. It would be useless for a person to have to wait for someone before it is possible to proceed with his/her task. It would also be unfair to place blame if the delay is due to factors he/she cannot control.
• Give recognition to those who are able to comply. It is very important that you show your appreciation to those who are observing your directive or else they will think it is just another management fad that will fade away.
• Discipline those who refuse to comply. This is a matter of will power. There will always be negativists who will try to point out that you are nit-picking in pushing for such a small issue. While it must be a tool of last resort, there are a times that you must use your authority if there are people who could not be persuaded.
Improving productivity by having a fast start in the morning has many advantages, and starting such program costs very little. This is one managerial effort that is bound to reap plenty of rewards.
Business and management consultant Ruben Anlacan, Jr. is the president of BusinessCoach, Inc. and a resource speaker for various business topics. He discusses overviews and tips for business from the point of view of a small- or medium-scale entrepreneur who has started several successful enterprises. Those who wish to ask questions or to make comments may visit http://entrepcoach.blogspot.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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