We often find ourselves saying, “If only I had the time, I’d fix this!” Though we create work-arounds for those items, or find ways to cope, we rarely take the time to implement true solutions to drive long-term change. This isn’t always as simple as it seems, but it’s important for any successful team to focus less on talking about problems, and more on thinking about and implementing solutions. Can this be done in the midst of everything competing for that precious commodity called time? What if we paused for 24 hours and attended to the neglected? What could we accomplish?
True leaders know the key to success is to empower those around them. As leaders, it is our job to help team members find their voices, identify opportunities for growth and build the confidence for them to change. Recently, our team took time out of the traditional workday and joined together to find solutions for the things that cost us time. We called it the IT@IB Innovation Day (One Day of Undiluted Autonomy). In order to make the most of this opportunity for change, we chose to execute our plan in the following phases:
Phase I: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. First, we looked at our daily work routines and individually identified one thing that – if eliminated, solved or shortened – would improve our daily productivity and efficiency levels. There were no boundaries, just a collaborative environment encouraging the free flow of information. It didn’t take long for the more than 70 IT@IB team members to build a list of 20-30 items, and once we had that list, we were ready to focus our efforts on the task at hand, finding solutions.
Phase II: If opportunity doesn’t knock, go build a door. At Innovation Day, those same team members got the necessary people together in smaller groups to brainstorm solutions for the areas of improvement they recently identified. Then, those groups worked collaboratively on how to develop and implement those solutions into their workdays.
Phase III: Actions speak louder than words. In the workplace, plans are only as strong as the resources used to carry them through, and following Innovation Day, teams presented their innovations to the leadership team. Of the 20 or so ideas presented, several of them have already been implemented. One of those ideas, for example, came from two team members who were tasked with tracking down errors in URLs from customers. It was a tedious, manual task that took tremendous amounts of time. On Innovation Day, the team came up with an automated process to manage this task, and as a result, each team member re-gained roughly 5-10 hours of previously occupied time for the month.
The inaugural IT@IB Innovation Day was so impactful that – at the request of our team – we’ve already scheduled another one for July. Where there’s value, there’s opportunity, and our team walked away from this experience feeling refreshed and inspired to continue to drive change. Empowering your team members to implement solutions welcomes a culture that is as collaborative as it is productive, and doing so will not only improve your daily routine, but also the routines of those around you. Great leaders lead by example, and actions speak louder than words.
Take Action: What can you do to maximize your productivity and efficiency levels? Sometimes, you need to slow down to speed up. Take some time to identify areas for improvement, then determine and implement solutions
Leadership on the GO…..It’s O.N.