Monthly Archive: January 2013

Process Improvement Soliloquy

Now whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on th’ event—
A thought which, quarter’d, hath but one part wisdom
And ever three parts coward—I do not know
Why yet I live to say this thing’s to do,
Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means
To do’t.

Hamlet Act 4, scene 4, 39–46

We work with a lot of clients who are brilliant and amazing at their areas of expertise, but sometimes thinking too much keeps them from taking action and seeing success.

Have you ever wanted to have a tough conversation with an employee but over thought it and never made it happen? Do you want to implement something and keep stumbling over the “what if’s?” and possibilities of failure? Have you wanted to write an article or start a business but get caught up in logistics or everything being perfect?

What’s Hamlet got to do with it?

Hamlet pondered that he thought too precisely of his revenge, but never took action. “Thinking” in general, lingering over implications, risk, fears, possible outcomes – to the point where opportunities are missed.

Everything doesn’t have to be perfect to take action. Look at the real implications of taking a calculated risk, and if it makes sense, just get started. (Click to Tweet.)

So how can you take action….keep reading for 3 simple tips!

Accountability Rules

How can someone who gets lost in their head worrying about what the outcomes could be, actually take action? Easy: Write it! Tell it! Risk it!

1. Write it! Write down your objectives. People who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. Write down what it is and when you intend to accomplish it.

2. Tell it! Be accountable to someone. Tell someone you respect and trust what your objectives are and when you want them achieved. Make sure the person you choose will actually call you on it.

3. Risk it! Don’t be (too) afraid of nominal risk or failure. What is the worst that can happen? And does the worst really have great impact?

Like this article? Share it!


Tell us what risks you take this week! Follow us on Twitter @whiteboardcons and use #betterfastercheaper.

Until next week,

Tweets by @WhiteboardCons

Hurry. But hurry slowly

You bump into a colleague in the hallway. “How are you?” she asks. “Busy. So busy,” you reply with a shrug. She smiles a knowing smile and says, “yeah, me too,” and you both go on your way. It seems that no one smiles and says, “fine thanks” any more – it’s always “busy, you?”.

Or, maybe you’re like one of our clients, who recently told us that he is “addicted to firefighting” at work because it makes him feel productive and useful. He hurries from fire to fire, and then does his “day job” at the end of day and into the evening, rushing to get things done on time.

Like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, we all have those times when we rush around saying “Oh dear, oh dear, I shall be too late!” But what happens when it becomes the norm instead of the odd time now and again?

A Mistake Waiting to Happen

A friend told us of something his mother said to him over the holidays. “Hurry,” she said. And then almost as an afterthought she added, “but hurry slowly!”


A sense of urgency is a good thing, particularly in business, and that sense of urgency needs to be intentional in order to be effective.Click to tweet. If you’re running about like Alice’s rabbit all the time, you’re going to make a mistake. And some day, it will cost you.

Many people thrive on a pressure situation. They do their best work when it’s down to the wire and that deadline is looming, and that’s ok. When it becomes chronic behaviour, however, the potential to make a mistake increases exponentially.

Good Intentions

A great resolution to make for your business this year is to add intentional urgency to your focus. Talk to your teams about having a sense of urgency in their work. Ensure that timelines aren’t set in a certain way “because it’s always taken that long to do this type of work.” Can things be done faster? Can the team wow the customer by beating the deadline? Can they plan to beat the deadline?

If you hurry, but hurry slowly, you are ensuring that your activity is completed as fast as it can be, with thoughtful planning and consideration for risks along the way. You’ll be more productive, and less exhausted at the finish line.

Intentional urgency. It’s one way to become Better.Faster.Cheaper.

How are you coaching your teams (or yourself) to add intentional urgency to your business this year? Drop us a line at or on Twitter @whiteboardcons using #betterfastercheaper.

Until next time,

Tiny Time Savers

’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but a favourite line from a client of ours was: “I’m addicted to firefighting. Answering emails and putting out fires is more satisfying than putting together a strategic plan for 2013”.

Well, I hear it over and over again from businesses we work with:
“I would do more process improvement work, but I don’t have time.”
“I have SO many emails to get through every day.”
“I’m buried in emails? When can I do a strategic plan? Help!”

Sound like you? Well, I feel the same way.

Today’s post is a simple one: New year. less Email.

The tip below is beyond simple. I mean it. Its barely bloggable, but I think if I saved every person that reads our blog (there must be millions right?) a few seconds a day, I can validate the fact that I am sitting on my couch today writing this blog with my dog Barkley sitting at my feet keeping them warm. 🙂

I figure I should use the Whiteboard way. So first I started with defining my simple problem:

I spend too much time reading and deleting non-value added emails. I receive about 35 emails from various clothing stores, shoe stores, women’s health magazines etc. every day that I delete and archive. They make my personal inbox cluttered and make it difficult to find important emails. I spend 5 minutes every day reading these emails * 365 days a year= 30.42 hours a year.

So I invested 20 minutes to unsubscribe from all the emails that weren’t valuable to me.

That leaves 30.22 hours a year to me doing value added things.

I’m working on Proving It! I’ll keep you posted on the results of my improvement, as some email subscriptions don’t take effect for up to 10 days.

Next time, I’ll tell you how to book a meeting (or girls night) in less than 15 emails.

It is a small step, but every big change takes a number of tiny steps. Today, let your tiny step be to free yourself from the email beast! Click to Tweet.

Tell us how it worked at or on Twitter @whiteboardcons using #betterfastercheaper.

Until next week,

Small Business? Many Hats!

Small business owners wear many hats. In fact, they often wear ALL the hats! They are, in turn, the book keeper, IT specialist, strategic planner, customer service agent, project manager, logistics specialist, business development expert, social media planner, and sales manager.

Or rather, they think they are. All too often one or more of those roles are left undone – usually because of time constraints, and sometimes because the topic makes the small business owner squirm.

Are you a small business owner who wears several hats, but leaves a few off because they aren’t comfortable? Here are 3 tips to help you juggle the hats in 2013.

It’s a Process, It’s a Process, It’s a Process

If you’re a regular reader you remember our post way back in July that explained EVERYTHING is a process. It also taught you that simple processes are the best – not only do they save you time and energy, but they can help get rid of that “I’m so overwhelmed!” feeling shared by many small business owners.

So Tip #1 for juggling your small business hats: examine your business processes. You have them. They’re everywhere. Which ones are taking up too much of your time and energy? Can you simplify them? Get rid of them?

Which brings us to our next tip.

Where is your time best spent? Ideally, the small business owner should focus on business development and sales, right? That’s where the money is, and the money is what will keep your business going (and pay your mortgage!). Do you find yourself spending too much time on the other hats that don’t generate any revenue for you?

Tip #2 for juggling your small business hats: outsource where ever possible. If you can hire a book keeper who is expert in that field and who will save you time, identify potential savings for you, and keep you out of jail – isn’t that worth it? Consider it an investment in your sanity, and an investment in the financial health of your business.

Management by Avoidance Is Not a Good Thing

What about those hats that don’t fit because they’re not comfortable? Perhaps you really don’t “get” the social media boom but you know it’s important for your business. Maybe you know a little about process improvement but it’s not your thing and it drives you crazy to think about it. And a business plan? “Ugh!” you think. “Stay away from me with all those templates!”

Many small business owners simply ignore those tasks with which they are not comfortable. And in so doing, they miss out on business opportunities that could significantly grow their business.

Tip #3 for juggling your small business hats: If you aren’t the expert, find someone who is and hire them, even for a short time.Click to Tweet

It’s really not rocket science, but it does require a little thought. Let’s recap:

  1. Organize your business processes.
  2. Outsource activities that take time away from your business development work.
  3. Don’t ignore critical business activities because you don’t like them. Hire experts.

By following these three tips you can make sure your small business is well organized for 2013. Who knows, your small business might even become a big business!

Tell us about your small business process solutions at or on Twitter @whiteboardcons using #betterfastercheaper.

Until next week,