Creating a successful business from the ground up takes hard work and time, and while we may believe we are doing everything in our hands to make it work, there are some areas of improvement that can make a big change in how fast your company grows. A good place to start is by minimizing wasted efforts in your day-to-day workday.

In our most recent episodes of Systematic Excellence Podcast, we have been covering every part of the Business Hierarchy of Needs, and this time we talked about minimized wasted efforts, becoming more efficient, and ways to accomplish your objectives.


So if you want to learn how to optimize our time and prevent wasting it, keep on reading!


Evaluating where your company is wasting efforts

Janine: This is one of my favorite topics because I hate wasting effort and I get really disgruntled when I finished doing something and going, “wow, that was an hour of my life.” If you ever feel like that, that’s definitely a sign that you need to take a closer look at: what is that thing you just did and what can you do to reduce or eliminate the effort?

Amalie: We use what Mike Michalowicz calls The Omen Method, and the first thing you gotta do is a review or an evaluation, like a quarterly meeting. We believe that you should have quarterly meetings along with annual, weekly, and daily meetings, and during that time, have your team members submit or speak up about where the bottleneck is.
And we want to minimize the amount of time it takes this person to do this one process because let’s say it takes 10 hours, we want to get it down to five hours. That’s the objective. Once you do that, then you can come up with the measurement. So that’s the M and the Omen, and then you can figure out how to evaluate whether you’ve achieved that or not, and then you can nurture it. 

Janine: Life is emotion and so is your business all the time. So you always want to look and see if something that was working isn’t working as well, or have you introduced something new to your business that perhaps could be done better, or is it creating a log jam somewhere else? Another thing is the human factor in systems; your process may be fine, but stop and ask yourself, “are people still following it?” And if not, why? Is it ineffective? Or have they found shortcuts that are better and minimize the effort? Because when people are doing something, they inherently get better at it and find ways to do things better. So if you find the person that is doing that thing, who has minimized instinctively the wasted effort they found in the process already, then they can share that and you can update your SLPs. You just need to document it and share it with other people on your team.

Amalie: If they found a shorter and an easier, more effective, efficient way, they should already update the SOP. That should be the responsibility of the person that runs that process. When you find an easier way, they should just automatically do it; that’s the whole point of having it. And if they’re not following the SOP, then it’s null and void.
They should be updated every time something new goes into the process, but they should also be reviewed at least once a year to make sure that people are following it. One of the things that we’ve done with our own project management tool and also in the client’s project management tools is setting up automation. As you know, we use ClickUp and ClickUp’s constantly rolling out new features and things like that, and as they do that, then that becomes the new process.

I think the most important thing for the minimized wasted effort starts with you, with the CEO.  So what are you doing and what are you spending your time doing? We suggest doing the time recording session, where you spend a week recording your time and everything that you do; it’s super tedious, but it’s important to do that. And not just you, but having your team members do that, even maybe doing it twice a year or once a year, it would be really good to get that recording from the time you start your day, till the time you end your day, recording everything you do every minute of the day. So can see where not just yourself, but your team is spending their time and then asking them how can they refine that? How can they minimize their wasted time? You want to make sure people are spending their time wisely. When you’re paying people and you’re building a team you don’t want to pay them for a bunch of wasted time, especially if you have a remote team because you’re not paying people to sit in an office. You’re paying them to work on what you need them to work on and get it done. 


Getting rid of rabbit holes

Janine: It also helps identify distractions and rabbit holes. Another good place for doing the recordings is with new hires during their orientation and have the team members who are onboarding them or and training them into their position record how they’re doing that. And then later on they can turn around and compare that to the current process.

Amalie: And processes in general help with minimized wasted effort: having your standard operating procedures helps to minimize wasted effort because you’re taking a process that you do all the time and you’re putting it into a document that says, “this is how you do it” vs. just getting on and doing it in a different order every time.
Having an onboarding process, where you take whether it’s a team member or a client, you take them through the same process, you create checklists to help them minimize wasted effort. You have checklists that will remind you of each step that needs to get done, and it also helps to delegate it because now you’ve created this process and you can hand it off to someone to be responsible for.

Automations, wherever you can make things automated, but just make sure that you record what the manual part is in case the automation breaks down.


Janine: When you’re reviewing your numbers looking at your KPIs, if something’s not where it should be, that’s assigned to take a step back and review all the way down to the underlying process. Ask yourself what is going on in that area?

Amalie:  What you can do is once you have the objective, you come up with how you’re going to measure it, and what is the goal when you’ve achieved success? So you’re going to look at it daily, weekly, whatever meeting that you’re going to look at it in. And then evaluate if you’ve achieved that? And how are you going to nurture it going forward; how are you going to continue to minimize the effort or refine the process, and that becomes your objective. Now, if you have set up an operations person or an integrator, this ultimately would be their responsibility as part of their job to do these kinds of things.


Identifying and eradicating bottlenecks effectively

Janine: And whether it’s a business owner or the operations person, the key thing here is to involve the people where the breakdown is occurring. They’re on the front lines and you don’t have to come to them with a solution: you can come to them with the problem and they can give you the solution, the same thing with the actual metrics.
Amalie: I would almost ask them to come to me with the problem, the solution, and the numbers. I want them to tell me everything. For example, I’ve noticed they’re doing this one process that takes them five hours. I want them to get it done in two; if that’s not reasonable, like I need to know from them what would be a reasonable expectation and then we can go from there and figure it out.

The other thing that I think is important is that as the business owner or the CEO, you need to be ready to hear from your team that you’re the bottleneck. If that’s the case, then you need to take some serious time to evaluate what you’re doing. You need to do your own time recording exercise and figure it out. That’s a very real thing because if their activities are not wasted effort, if they’re refined and they’re working effectively, but they’re waiting on you for days on something, that’s a problem cause that ultimately is wasted effort.


In conclusion… 

Janine: It comes back to the fundamentals of what is the whole point of this level of the Hierarchy of Needs. The whole point behind it is for your business to be an asset, your business shouldn’t be running you. Ideally, even if you’re in the middle of your business running it, you’re not a single point of failure where it all falls apart if you can’t be there. 

Amalie: Absolutely. We would say the place to start when you’re trying to go through this process is to start with a time evaluation and record the amount of time you and your team members spend on the task. It doesn’t have to be a hundred percent accurate, but as accurate as you can get it. Then sit down and go through it and review it. That’s a great place to start to figure out where you’re wasting time and money.


And that’s it for minimizing wasted efforts! We hope this has been helpful to you. See you on the next episode!


To listen to the full episode click here.


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