Dec 1, 2009
India Today Magazine of 7th Dec. 2009.)
I happened to read yesterday an article by Yong Jin Roh, Chief consultant, LG Economic Research Institute,
in "LG News" titled: Seoul
"The Time-Wise Company".
He emphasized that:
· To win in today’s competitive environment, it is essential to move and respond faster than speed at which the market is changing.
· “He who hesitates’ loses” is an old proverb.
· For this goal, organizations and people need to develop exemplary operational efficiency and mange resources at the right time and right place.
To begin with, it is important to eliminate the wastefulness of resources which arises from inefficient use of time within an organization.
Looking to the total time an employee spends at work, the author has identified three types of losses that cut into the productivity.
- The first is loss of commitment:
It is a result of “willful” lack of concentration where individual or group of people gossips, reads the newspapers or shops on internet, etc. In other words, they do everything except the work on hand.
It could be also due to repeated late hours each evening (except when needed for some tasks that are time-sensitive).
A worker may appear to be busy but he is busy exchanging personal emails, checking up sports news, or stock prices.
These activities are thieves of time.
- The second is loss of efficiency:
People are hard at work but they lack skills, knowledge or judgment to perform he task. Or the rules and procedures of the company are too rigid and inflexible. Or there is a widespread confusion.
It could be the result of excessive report writing, internal red-tape, too many meetings for the sake of meetings, etc. - especially when higher ups turn meetings in to meetings marathon.
An all too common response for new ideas is that “we have always been doing like this only” or “follow the rules”. There are obvious dangers to this approach. Like the frog sitting in a slowly warming pot that will eventually boil it to death, a company can also be killed by a slowly worsening external environment that is changing slowly and going un-noticed by it.
- The third is loss of effectiveness:
The hard work is going on, no doubt but it is not directed towards activities that result in creating value which the customer is looking for. It could also be in the form of a mistaken company direction.
Perhaps this is the greatest loss. No matter how efficiently or earnestly everyone is working, if their efforts are not directed towards proper goals, then everything will be a waste.
If a TV manufacturing company takes pride in adding needlessly complicated functions to its products, it will end up making the remote control more and more difficult for the customer to operate! Is it adding any value where the customer is looking for one?
Summing up, he says:
· The era has long passed where success comes to those who simply work long hours.
· Every company has to find out its own way of doing it, according to its industry, culture and the personalities involved.
is renowned in the world for relentlessly searching out the root cause of inefficiency. This responsibility is assigned to the none other than the team leader! Toyota
· HP (the IT giant) emphasizes balance between work and life and tries to eliminate what is really not important for its employees to do. Role of the leader in this effort is very critical.
· When a particular section of the organization finds out ways to eliminate the root cause of inefficiency, for example, GE (General Electric) systematically searches out such best practices and make sure other departments and subsidiaries also adopt them.
Lot of inefficiencies in the workplace are due to decision-making power being too concentrated with a handful of top guys. IBM found out that its systems and procedures generated huge waiting time for customers in the hope of getting approvals and it corrected it!
· In the case of Ritz Carlton Hotel, employee have the authority to spend up to, say $2, 000 each to quickly resolve a customer complaint. This helps boost up customer satisfaction and boosts business.
· Many companies have top-down communications, with orders coming from the top only. In contrast, successful global companies have open dialogue and a culture of frank exchange of views. In GE, ‘frank speech” is a part of collaborative decision-making process.
· Cannon has successfully implemented the practice of voluntary “efficiency meetings” where colleagues can encourage each other in their efforts!
In Greek, there are two concepts of time, he writes:
· One is the measurable passing of time , or “chronos” and
· The other is subjective perception of time, or “kairos”.
· Being with your girl friend for one hour may feel like few minutes and watching a boss making a speech for few minutes can feel like one hour!
· Therefore, an individual needs to be helped in this regard, by planning his time schedule for a job, reducing interruptions, keep the workplace orderly and tidy, remaining focused on priority tasks always and never shirk from doing the most important task first, no matter how boring, difficult or unpleasant!
Talking about punctuality, let me sign off today with a few inspiring quotes and two inspiring and yet light-hearted stories of how best to follow this advise serious
- Horace Mann said: Unfaithfulness in the keeping of an appointment is an act of clear dishonesty. You may as well borrow a person's money as his time.
- Lord Chesterfield said: Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no delay, no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
- William Shakespeare said : Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.
We all know that Mahatma Gandhi ( Bapu) was a great stickler for punctuality. I am reminded of two anecdotes I have read and I write from memory.
1. Mahavir Tyagi was Indian freedom Fighter and a political leader . When he had obtained an appointment to meet Gandhi Bapu next day, he got this warning : “ I will wait for you to arrive on time. If you do not turn up, I will have reason to believe that either you have died or are hurt in an accident !”
Who can afford to miss a scheduled appointment with such a person who valued time: both his as well as his visitors’?
2. In his room, Gandhi ji had a small sign board which read “ Be Quick, Be Brief, Be Gone”.
Bapu would naughtily smile at the visitor who was about to overshoot his allotted time and point a finger to this sign board, suggesting his exit .His child-like laughter would send the message very emphatically.
The Message, then is clear:
Act Now, Act Fast,
Act with the Customer in mind,
Act without red tape
and the race is yours !