Creatures of Habit

Today’s blog is in memory of my little guy Terry. Dogs love routine, and a routine is essentially the result of a finely tuned process repeated regularly. Click to Tweet

Terry was certainly a stubborn little dog, but when he knew exactly how things were going to go he was happier and well behaved.

Is your team happier and more productive when they know what to do and achieve consistent results ? I bet they are! I don’t mean to say they should be doing one task over and over again. Imagine a common approach to problems, or a fool-proof process for expense reports. It’s dreamy!

From Poop to process….

Some days that stubborn little dog of mine wouldn’t erm….go #2. I’d wait and wait and be late for a meeting or an appointment. So I had to develop a process.

But first I needed to try all the available options. I tried taking him out as soon as I woke up, waiting until the last minute, before he ate, after he ate…you get the picture.

Finally I got there. Wake up, eat, go out, circle the block, and 90% of the time I had success.

But then there are always variables – rain, another dog visiting, his furry friends at the park that distracted him from his duties. So sometimes I made minor adjustments for those days – if the dog park looked busy I circled the other way, I took the dogs out seperately if we had a visiting dog. I had a process, but was willing to adjust as necessary.

The key is, you need a process that meets your goals 80% of the time, and then you can adjust as needed for the other 20%. Why spend all of your time trying to plan for the 2% chance of rain?

Process doesn’t need to be rigid – it can change with circumstances. When data starts telling you to change – DO IT!

Do you sometimes feel that everything is an ad-hoc task? Do you try every possible option for a problem and never know if what you are doing is working? Sometimes a little process thinking can get you on your way, and it doesn’t have to be hard.

The 80/20 Rule – 3 steps to making it work and adjusting for change

  1. Map out your process that happens 80% of the time.
  2. When a bump in the road pops up, try #1 then adjust.
  3. Go back to 1 and document your “new” variable process.

Map, Adjust, Repeat. Don’t make a job out of it – use some sticky notes that you can move around every day until you get your process refined.

Process is a process – give it a try.

Until next week,
Nicole

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