Do more in less time using fewer resources for less money. Wait! Also, do it for a nominal, inconsequential fee. This idea seems to be the one that pervades the whole system of business. The fact is that quality can thrive in an efficient process, but forcing each product or need for service into a pre-determined template does not foster efficiency.
To be efficient is to use expertise, knowledge, and to be able to think and act critically and responsibly with regard to the vast array of circumstances that may arise during any type of product or service production process. Templatization is the idea that if a template is created for the business, this will create a format for each client to adhere to and make the job of production much easier. Though the idea is quite a noble one, the template that is not malleable and is not able to be changed is one that creates the problem of unhappy customers and unhappy services providers.
Efficiency lies in the correct utilization of technology, communication with internal teams and external clients where they are equal in stature, and a fluid process that allows for standardization and restructuring without a complete breakdown of the process and/or production. As one can currently see in the workforce, Artificial Intelligence has not replaced the human worker, therefore human capital is still the fastest and most efficient way to understand the needs of a human client. Thus, efficiency lies with human resources that correctly use technology to reduce time to market for products and for service life cycles while maintaining high-quality output.
The best and easiest way to maintain efficiency is to keep it simple and keep it flexible.
1) Human capital is most important, get the quick thinkers and the people with humble confidence.
Find the best people for the job. The idea that people are machines gets many a business into trouble. A team of people who are connected to each other, fairly compensated, and experts in their fields who are allowed to think critically and outside the box will allow for the highest amount of growth professionally and personally while most likely impacting the bottom line of all businesses in a positive way. Of course, it always works best if we can have the whole team on the same page. And, this is possible.
2) Rule the template, don’t let it rule you.
Templates are very useful tools, but they are to be handled and revised by a person. Templates usually have a shelf-life and the key to their efficiency is how flexible and adaptable they are. In fact, this is the key to most things – if it can adapt it can survive and be useful.
3) Be flexible and not dogmatic.
With the exception of breaking the law or causing undue difficulty to another team on a project, it is important to be flexible. Dogmatic requirements that are there simply for the sake of being there are not the most efficient use of time or effort and dramatically decrease efficiency. It is important to cover the basis to ensure high quality work, but no value is added by requiring unnecessary adherence to specific or particular non-essential criteria.
4) Listen, Organize, Discuss, Decide (LODD).
Listening to the experts and the client ordering the work is important to ensuring all expectations are managed, meted out, and met.
Organizing the thoughts, timelines, remuneration, and delivery of the product or services between the client and vendor and those two internal teams is very important.
Discussing potential breakdowns, providing possible solutions to them, and being upfront and solution oriented will ensure trust and make for more efficient handling of business.
Deciding of the best possible process, delivery of products or services, the risk assessment and the final real die-hard requirements of the project will ensure all parties come away with a clear understanding of their specific role responsibilities as well as the big picture.
Following the LODD principle will allow for a more open and frank discussion and allow for each member perform accountably and with integrity.
5) Rely on the team and the expert.
If the right team and the right set of experts are comprised for the life cycle of a project one should remember that the team will allow the project to come to fruition. The person at the top, most notably a project manager, a client contact, or a vendor contact is not the expert as it pertains to the project tasks themselves. Organizing, communicating, and effectively conveying all information in a humble manner is what makes the person who looks like the boss successful. For each man or woman on top there is a support team that keeps him or her there – it is important to keep this in mind.
6) Efficiency is not an allowance for procrastination.
Simply because a vendor or a worker is very efficient is not a reason to expect him or her to make up for your procrastination. Everything in life has to have some accountability. If I am a client and I want my project done on time, I must create a possibility where it can be completed on time. Procrastination cause quite a lot of headaches, reduces efficiency, greatly sacrifices quality, and does not allow for trust or teamwork to reach a critical mass. When these important aspects are lost even if a product or service is delivered, the working relationships suffer and eventually this will lead to a breakdown in the professional relationships and quality will suffer.
Being proactive instead of reactive is a cornerstone of efficiency. But, having the right attitude and the spirit of collaboration and teamwork go much further to foster an efficient working environment. Remember: know your place, do your part, and let the rest take shape as it does within an efficient process.