We have resources available to us that we don't see.
In lean economic times, it makes sense to account for the various flows of information and resources that travel through an organization. Mapping these flows enables us to take a birds eye view and see visually things that otherwise would be invisible. Especially in difficult economic times, working smarter means understanding what you are working with. There are some tips that I can offer people, businesses and organizations that are interested in better understanding how to maximize the work they are doing, and uncover opportunities that might exist.
- Make a list of all that your work provides - be it services, products, or information.
- Under each item, list why that service, product or information is important.
- Make a list of all of the organizations and people who interact with your work (both directly and indirectly).
- What benefit do they receive from you, and what do they give? The answer to this question is paramount to understanding how effective you are at 'closing the loop'.
- Whether we are talking about business, natural ecologies or social communities, closing the loops of exchange makes your work thrive.
- When the exchange is a closed loop, it means that both parties are giving and receiving something of value by participating in the exchange.
- What you will find is that when all of the people who interact with your work are both giving and receiving value, the relationship (and the work) thrives.
- When both parties are not giving AND receiving value, this indicates a hidden opportunity.
- Now make a list of all of the ways that information (of any kind) comes in and out of the work you do.
- What tools (computer programs, databases, websites, processes) do you use to work with the information that comes in the door?
- Are these processes cumbersome? In what way? What are other ways of doing it that might be simpler?
- Often times, the answers to these questions can seem inaccessible. In reality, they are just a google search (and maybe a little elbow grease) away.
- If/when information leaves your organization, in what form/s does it leave?
- Same questions as above - are the systems you are using to manage this information working for you? Are they clumsy? How might they be improved?
These questions might seem simple, but when done right, the results have have profound impacts:
Sometimes it can be helpful to have someone familiar with the territory guide you through.
- Your work becomes more enjoyable.
- Because the processes and programs you will be using will be smarter, you will find yourself doing less of the boring work, and instead having time to put some creativity and life back into your work.
- You will find that it takes you less time to do the same things it would take you days to do before.
- Frustration becomes minimal as you develop systems that are intuitive and most importantly that work.
- You find yourself working less and yet bringing in more resources.
- When the loops of exchange are closed in more facets of the work you do, you will discover resources and productive partnerships with other entities supporting you and your work much more effectively and abundantly.
- Technology infrastructure can be a sizable expense for an organization. Mistakes can be costly. It pays to research your options, and to solicit advise from someone that has some tenure in the field. If this is something you are considering, please contact me.