Two Ways to Make Sure Your Employees Aren’t Wasting Time at Work

Our team was wasting two hours of time after each training. That means with the 90 trainings we did in 2017, our team wasted a total of 180 hours. That’s almost a month of wasting time!

What happened?

After every training, we had a process of sharing all the training photos on our Facebook page to share with the client. To do this, it took the following steps:

1) Take photos during the training.
2) Clean up the photos after the training to delete bad ones.
3) Upload the photos to a Google Folder.
4) Create a Facebook folder and upload the program folders to it.
5) Caption each photo to explain what is going on.
6) Share the Facebook Album link with the client.

The entire process involved three people and took a total of two hours of collective time. The end result was intended to be a resource for our clients to have a folder of photos from their training. But did they care? In looking at the results, it turns out that we received ZERO likes on the photos. That’s right, ZERO. A month’s worth of work for ZERO value.

Why did it take so long to stop wasting time?

There were two main reasons it took so long for us to stop doing an activity that was producing very little value.

1) No Measurement – As the famous management consultant, Peter Drucker, said, “What gets measured gets managed.” No one on the team was actually measuring how many people were looking at these photos. Only one person on our team had a sense that our clients weren’t looking at the photos. Since it wasn’t an ongoing measurement that we were tracking, however, there was never a time for that team member to bring it up during our meetings. If you want to make sure something is working, find a way to measure it and report on that measurement.

2) No STOP List – Great ideas, and projects, come and go within teams and organizations. With each new idea comes a series of tasks. Those tasks take time. Some projects have a definitive end time where all the related tasks also end. But some projects are ongoing without an end. At one point in time, we thought that sharing our training photos in a Facebook Album was a great idea, so we created the task list I described above. We never stepped back to check in on this, or any, of our legacy projects. During one of our quarterly retreats, we decided to do a STOP list which uncovered how ineffective our photo sharing project and several other legacy projects, were.

To create a STOP list, do the following:

  1. Each person reviews all of their repeating daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.
  2. Individually, each person puts a mark next to the repeating tasks that they’d like to audit to see if they still make sense.
  3. At the Quarterly Retreat, each person shares the marked tasks on their STOP list and then discusses with the group.

The end result of a STOP List is that all the legacy tasks with little value get dropped.

You’d be amazed at how many teams and organizations fill their time with useless legacy tasks that produce very little value. Before you present this idea to your team, try it out for yourself. See what you are doing that isn’t being measured and create your own STOP list. Then, bring the idea to your team to really free up time for everyone to work on the things that really matter and bring the most amount of value.

“Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.” – Peter Drucker

For further reading on how to keep your team from wasting time, check out this post on the prioritization funnel. It’s a fancier version of the STOP list.

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