Onward and Upward!

Have you ever asked someone to do something and they asked, “Why?” only to have you respond, “Because I said so.”?  Do you know why most people despise that response?  It creates an atmosphere of command, control, and disrespect and doesn’t allow the individual the ability to emotionally adjust to the request.  Basically, you come across as a dictator with little respect for others who may be asking their questions strictly to understand the purpose and the ultimate goal of the tasks to be completed.

Similarly, in a workplace where the leader or leaders continue to do things the way they have done them for many years without evaluating the processes and engaging the people who carry out these processes, they are portraying that same attitude.

Why do people act this way?  Many times it is because of fear; fear of giving more control to an employee or technology, fear of having to learn something new, or fear of what it might cost.  In reality, by giving someone more control, embracing technology, and learning and implementing something new, it usually results in greater overall value and much of the time, significant cost savings.  Here are a few examples of common practices to review for ways to improve accuracy and efficiency:

Mileage Logs/Expense Reports – There are many apps available that record, sort, tag for job cost etc. and automatically export into Excel, QuickBooks and most accounting software.

Time Sheets – Check into some of the cool and efficient mobile apps available that totally automate this function and validate against the GPS location of employees to assure correct payroll hour and job cost reporting. Some even use bio data like facial recognition to identify the user so there is no way to beat the system.

Automatic Deposit Payroll Checks or use Third Party Payroll providers – The wasted time in printing, mailing, employee lost time and money to swing by office to pick up or for a supervisor to deliver. Stop delivering paychecks and save time and money.

Paper files – Stop using paper and scan documents instead. Today’s imaging software not only saves time and money but makes searching for and finding documents fast and easy. Many companies are going totally digital and enjoying the efficiency and cost savings staggering.

Collaborative Communication – Check out free products like Google Apps that can total change the way you communicate.  These cloud based apps allow you to store, view, edit, print, e-mail etc documents from anywhere anytime.  They replace such products as Microsoft Outlook and Office with free e-mail server products that allow even the smallest company to have big company look and feel. You can have your own URL mail for all your employees like >> mike@onegreatplumber.com<< as well as create and share all documents online.

Post Office, Fed-X & UPS. Never leave your desk. These services are all available on line – even free pickup at your office.

In Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit # 5 is ,”Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.”  In this chapter, Covey further directs us to use empathetic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which then compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving.

Are you in a position of authority?  Take time to inquire, listen and, when appropriate, implement.  It is 2012, my friend.  Even as far back as the 1800s, people overcame fear to tout the phrase, ”Onward and Upward.”  Don’t you agree; highly effective surpasses status quo!