Why efficiency matters - part 1

It’s no secret that efficiency matters in business. Isn’t this something we all strive for: to produce more without increasing the resources driving that outcome? This is the first post in a three-part series in which we will discuss common efficiency pitfalls in companies. Our hope is that you can pause and find one way to increase efficiency in your business today. Are there changes that you can make in your business now that would make you more streamlined, efficient and productive?

Managers that know when to delegate:

Talking to our peers, we agreed (with groans of frustration) that unnecessary all-hands-on-deck weekly meetings are the biggest waste of time. Each of us had the experience of a previous employer who held an all-hands meeting once a week or once a month, or once a quarter. These all-hands meetings don’t ever seem to involve the whole team, the full duration of the meeting. Typically a manager is working with a personal agenda or collecting information from each attendee one at a time. In some cases, information is being shared that doesn’t require any feedback from the attendees (a one-way discourse). We want the unnecessary meetings to stop! The more a manager can fully hand the ownership and execution of a task off to someone on their team, the more they can play a strategic role in growth and success in other areas of the enterprise.

  • Core Problem: One cause of these meetings seems to be managers that are too hands on and need to sit in on (and want everyone else to attend) every meeting. Managers that have trouble delegating or can’t trust their team to execute their jobs might lean toward holding unneeded all-team meetings. If you don’t have a working system to collect the information you need to assess your productivity, you might lean on pulling everyone together to have them report out. This management style wastes everyone’s time to save the manager (or assistant) a few minutes collecting information another way.
  • ACTIVITY: Before you schedule a meeting, multiply the number of people in the meeting by the average hourly salary by the length of the meeting. Is this meeting going to drive outcomes that exceed that cost? Is there another way you can accomplish what the meeting intends to accomplish? What would it look like to cut the length of the meetings in half and hold them half as often?

Look for the next two posts in our series about efficiency pitfalls: Integrated tools and processes; Latitude for innovation and change.

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