“Change is the only one constant.” Give up on working more, work smarter!
You have a prospering company, you make plans for the future, you make forecasts, you invest in your team. And then, all of a sudden, the so-called “normal world” crumbles like a house of cards, and you have no choice but to face a new reality. A reality that is unpredictable, beyond your control or with your limited influence on it. What can we learn from the pandemic? What areas we should develop or improve so the level of the civilization achieved before the pandemic can be kept?
The situation in the company
- our customers are unresponsive, or we don’t sell, or we sell much less, or we can’t sell our services, we can’t produce,
- we have no income and we fear to lose the company and dismiss the team,
- we are not together in the office, there is no communication – you lose control over the company,
- we are not together in the office, but we communicate pretty effectively on-line and remote work seems like a ta-dah! solution,
- online work lacks information flow, some employees complete their tasks behind schedule they report that sometimes they find their work (task) pointless or that they do not have access to appropriate resources,
- the previously developed procedures and standards no longer apply,
- some people are afraid to return to direct, personal contacts – in the company, with clients,
- some employees do not follow the sanitary procedures in the company.
The first step towards deliberate action is to regain control. It is worth taking a while and reviewing existing standards and procedures that affect your employees’ work, profit-making and service delivery. You have to re-verify the management model and define the necessary tools to facilitate the work of both the manager of the company or organization and the entire team.
1. What does it take to manage the company in a new reality to regain control?
According to the Maslow’s pyramid satisfying physiological, safety and security needs is a priority when it comes to human functioning. A full belly, a calm head – to make it as simple as possible – guarantee employee’s commitment, and that applies to the owner of the company too.
What keeps the company going and how to use the existing conditions for survival, transformation and deliberate actions.
In this article we suggest how to deal with yourself as a person managing an organization or a company, and how to manage a team in a crisis, more and more often referred to as a “new formula” for new times.
We show how to reduce employees’ resistance in the process of changes, increase their commitment and trust.
1.1. Can you trust yourself?
When you lose control, you lose your sense of agency and security. The more factors beyond your influence, the greater your sense of threat. Imagine yourself wandering in some unknown monstrous jungle. You are unfamiliar with the terrain and the direction of the route. You are surrounded by powerful plants, bothersome insects, wild animals and stuffy air that drains the strength out of you. Your action is limited by fear and anxiety – the tricks your mind plays and imagination. You go and you look like your ancestor several thousand years ago: in a cramped position, with your legs bent and eyes wide open, alerted to every snapping twig, rustle, slightest sound. You smell danger but you can’t see it.
You and only you is all you have.
But perhaps you have something more? A pocket knife, some clothes, good shoes? Perhaps energy bars tucked in trousers pockets? Or maybe, if you dig well deep in your head, you will remember the knowledge and skills that will help you read the signs of nature so you can find out where you are or at least in what direction you should be going?
Self-confidence is the most important thing in the situation of danger and crisis.
And this means:
- calm, organized and rational thoughts (truth – false, evaluation rooted in objective premises), plan and strategy of action,
- flexibility to adapt to the continually changing reality that surrounds you. You look at it as an ally, you get the best of it. You put the problem aside and see the possibilities it brings,
- you release your tension and begin to regain control. Control over yourself, your reactions, your decisions, your thoughts and emotions.
Starting with yourself, deal with the ghosts of your own mind, because they are of no help at all. At this point, all they do is weaken your will, your clarity of thought, and your will to act. You need to have full confidence in yourself in order to efficiently manage an organization, a company or a team.
1.2. What does your team expect from you?
Your team depends on you and how you manage it. If you choose an empathetic approach in times of crisis, you will understand that your actions should be particularly deliberate and responsible. The people you work with are in a situation like they’ve never been before. They have expectations towards you that are rooted in, among others their need for security and control over the situation.
Your empathy may trigger developing appropriate standards and new procedures that you can implement in your company or team.
- This will allow your team to work in peace.
- You show respect for your team, and this inspires the trust.
- You introduce the understanding that is necessary to implement changes, including new standards and procedures. It is not enough to say – “It is what it is and it must be so, because I am the only one who knows the truth”. When building a new formula of work, critical thinking and humility are useful – an attitude so underestimated by managers. Humility manifests itself in the leader’s reactions “Yes, you are right”, “I might be wrong”, “I haven’t heard about this before, can you tell me something about it?” “I don’t understand, explain it please.” This attitude supports breaking the employees‘ resistance and increases their commitment.
To collaborate with people when standards and procedures change, you need intellectual courage to debunk myths, speculation, falsehood, lies and stupidity.
C.E.O.’s empathy and understanding eliminate unnecessary tensions, nerves, emotional instability and aggression. Having a positive impact on the mental state of employees, they guarantee open minds and generate new ideas.
To additionally ensure the good energy of employees, it is worth inviting them to the modification process or creating new procedures and standards. When one does something for himself and people close to him, when one really participates and becomes responsible for something – one has a sense of agency and meaning. These elements become a key to the employees’ engagement and enable putting into practice meaningful arrangements.
1.3. Where are the obvious benefits?
The new standards and procedures for the team and individual work are aimed at clarifying what we do and how we do it. Therefore, it is important to verify systematically what works and what does not. In this, of course, numbers and measurability come in handy. It is also worth relying on a critical assessment of the information and the situation you found yourself in.
And in all this, you cannot lose a human being – an employee 🙂. Therefore, when focusing on the effectiveness of work, one must remember about basic communication criteria, such as:
- reliable feedback,
- information flow on time,
- clear, non-overinterpretable messages.
Of course, you can’t control everything. Therefore, focus on the factors you and your team have an influence on.
Conclusion: Life is neither logical nor simple. However, there are some things in business that are always worth betting on. And that things are: innovating and opening to what’s new. I agree that it requires an effort and resources. But doesn’t the new reality force us to change anyway? A new reality and the quarantine period have shown that there are new possibilities opening, e.g. remote management sometimes works great, people work remotely more effectively, you can start selling in different channels, it is worth giving up anachronisms, technology is very useful for all generations, etc. Well. These are a few famous examples of what’s behind the problem. When the problem moves away, you can see new and different possibilities.
2. What can WorkTime Expert, as an IT tool, offer to help you regain control over your company? And why is it the optimal IT tool in times of crisis?
If you run your own business, being in the present is important, but you must also look to the future. Effective management by optimizing work time will help ensure the profitability of your company, regardless of the situation in which you suddenly find yourself.
If your company found itself in a crisis situation when the restrictions had been announced, it is worth taking advantage of it and introducing changes that will protect you against similar situations in the future. Only entrepreneurs who optimize the company’s operation, reduce thriftiness and try to maintain revenues will survive. These processes can be efficiently carried out thanks to WorkTime Expert:
2.1. Start with eliminating incorrect assumptions
Entrepreneurs often assume that if business keeps on developing well, orders flow, the hands are full of work, it is a waste of time to implement some tools that optimize work processes. What’s even worse – they may think they don’t need such tools. They live in the present, forgetting about possible dangers that may appear out of nowhere, just like the pandemic did. “It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.”- Seneca.
2.2. Change the way you work – trade productivity for efficiency
Sounds like an annoying proposal? Well, not if we define both concepts properly. When the company seems to be going “well” – e.g. there are plenty of orders, the company tries to fulfill all incoming orders, regardless of whether these orders are profitable or not. The most important thing is to “make it”, to be productive in other words. However, in the optimization aiming at minimizing the so-called waste (a term borrowed from the LEAN methodology, according to which the WorkTime Expert application has been created), we increase efficiency, i.e. increase revenues and reduce costs. So give up on working more, work smarter!
2.3. Increase efficiency through optimization
In this process of change, awareness of the value of time plays a key role. Optimization can be carried out efficiently first of all by tracking work time. And with this we don’t mean tracking time from 8 am to 4 pm, but time really spent on project implementation, working for clients and internal works – necessary to maintain and develop the company. “Knowing how to make the best of time – that is happiness.” (R.W. Emerson).
Thanks to the summary and analytical results of actual work time registration, we increase efficiency and maintain the company’s profitability. We live in the era of new technologies and it is them, or rather the data collected by them and properly analyzed, that guarantee boosted efficiency and development of the company.
If you don’t track, you don’t manage! Collecting data equals to gathering key resources. Today, having information means having the most valuable resource. The information has become the most valuable resource, just like natural resources in the past, and industry during the industrial revolution. Effective management is processing this wealth at its maximum.
Conclusion: Consider the crisis as an opportunity to change for the better!
If you have a smaller number of orders, check their profitability carefully, count every minute! Track time spent on phone calls. When more tasks appear, start selecting them! WorkTime Expert can help you with this. It will detect hidden costs, which will allow you to recalculate the prices of your products and services and increase efficiency, which reduces costs per unit and shows which sales channels work better. Don’t forget about your team. Your team is the heart of your company. Take care of communication and gather opinions and conclusions. If working remotely turned into their favour, no need to worry about it. You might consider introducing partial remote work or even reducing the number of working hours. This is a new way of working, and it has worked out well in many places, thanks to converting productivity into efficiency. WorkTime Expert is made for it! The app works both on-line and off-line. It allows you to assign tasks and track work time. And you, dear C.E.O., thanks to the manager’s panel and internal chat, can manage the company.
Monika Goc – Business Coach and Certified ICC Coach
Agnieszka Borowska-Zasada – WorkTime Expert app Co-founder