Friday, July 22, 2011

R U Organized?

I walked into a start-up company the other day and no one even looked up when I came in the door. I went to the nearest desk and asked where James was. James was the person I was supposed to meet about a consulting project. The employee just shrugged and said he didn’t know. I asked the next person I could find who pointed to a table across the large, open room. I went over to the table where three people sat in a row with headphones on, not looking up at me at all. I got the attention of one of them and asked which person was James. He pointed to the guy on his left who looked up, finally, at that moment and stood up to shake my hand.

Later, I asked the CEO of this same company if he thought his company was organized. The question took him by surprise, and he stared at me for more than a few seconds. Finally, he spluttered out an answer something along the lines of “I guess so, but the thought had never honestly occurred to me.” He later added, “ I know we are pretty fast, and we have good people. I didn’t ever ask myself the question about whether we were organized. I guess I never really had that as a priority.”

Take the flip side of the coin, a VP of Operations I knew whose entire office space was pristine. I walked into his office, was greeted swiftly by his receptionist, routed to wait for him with coffee in my hand, and escorted in to see him within minutes of my on-time arrival. This guy knew how to control an environment. He also ran one of the most profitable operations in his field and had recently been featured in an article on efficient management.

Which example sounds more like your business? The disorganized mess? Or the pristine, orderly environment?

Why is organization so important for a business? Truthfully, it is because you will lose more revenue in what you SHOULD have produced than in problems with what you DID produce. Re-read that last line. The biggest source of lost revenue for a business is CAPACITY not used! And organization is the tool that makes it possible to utilize all of your resources effectively. The examples of above show two ends of the spectrum of organization in just one simple area, the greeting of incoming visitors.

Imagine if you could more effectively organize your entire business. Imagine the production you might be able to increase in the meantime. How much more could you achieve?

Let’s take an assessment of your business in a few key areas and see how organized you really are. To begin, let’s look at the definition of organization as it relates to a business. An organization is defined as an ORDERED whole. To BE organized is to arrange things into groups, sequences or types to increase flows and eliminate slows. So an organized business is one which is orderly and through which all types of people, communications and materials flow smoothly and rapidly.


Rank the following areas of your business on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being completely, perfectly organized:

Quality Control
Office Space

Add any additional areas as you see fit. How did you do? Which is your lowest area? Your highest?

This week, as you plan out your to-do list, add an hour or two to get more organized. Spend some time in your weakest area and get it a little more arranged. Get help if you need it. If you are in a small business and cannot afford much help, the very least thing you can do is get an organizing expert to help you. These professionals are not usually very expensive and can make a huge difference in your outlook on your business and your desk!

If you can't do anything else, organize your time better. Commit to being on time for every meeting for a week. End on time as well. See how your productivity compares to the week prior.

Make a commitment to organize as you grow. Organization is an investment that pays off in greater productivity. If you don’t believe me, read this from a famous organizing expert:

"When it comes to organizing a workspace, relaxation and comfort aren't the primary goals. Work is about efficiency and productivity. The more neat and logically organized your workspace is, the better you will be at your job." — Peter Walsh


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