A newly married couple was beginning their first Sunday meal preparation. The young woman began preparing a wonderful roast of beef while the man was preparing the vegetables. As they worked, the man noticed that the wife sliced off both ends of the roast and then rolled it in spiced flour. Curious, he asked, “Why did you do that?” “Do what?” “Slice the ends off the roast,” he responded, “Does that make it juicier or something?”
“Well, I don't really know. Mom always does that when she cooks a roast.” So they called her mother and were amused to hear that she also didn't know why the ends should be cut off the roast. It turns out it was because “your Grandmother always did that and so I do too.” Of course they called Grandmother and heard a hearty laugh when they asked her “why do we always cut the ends off the roast of beef before cooking it?” After Grandmother got control of her laughter, she exclaimed, “I can't believe you guys are doing that! The only reason I did that in the early years is because your Grandfather and I had only one roasting pan and it was too small for a roast big enough to feed us all.”
How many things are we doing in our businesses that are no longer necessary, no longer efficiently done or are downright damaging to our processes because “that's the way we've always done it?” Do you have a practice of reviewing all of your processes from time-to-time to make sure that they are needed, effective and efficient?
Here's something to consider in both your personal and business life. Implement a practice of annually or twice a year sitting down and thinking about what you will “Stop,” “Start,” and “Continue” doing from that point forward. Pay special attention to what you will stop doing. As employees, we often will fight this practice since we worry that if we don't have to do something, then our employers won't need us. Especially now, with the reduction in force that most companies have experienced, it is critical that we unburden the remaining employees by making it mandatory that they find tasks they can stop doing without jeopardizing customer service. As employees, we need to embrace the concept that we can add value by eliminating unnecessary or less than critical work.
Be ruthless in stopping less than critical work. Be stingy about what you decide to start doing. Make sure the new tasks are goal achieving, effective and integrated efficiently with the rest of the system. And celebrate what you decide to continue doing – that means (hopefully) that those tasks are critical to success, effective and efficient.
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About the author
Dave Kinnear is a sought after Business Advisor and Mentor. He works with highly successful executives through one-to-one mentoring and coaching meetings. Individuals who are presently running successful businesses and executives in transition work with Dave to ensure meeting corporate and/or career goals. Through his affiliation with Vistage International, Dave convenes and facilitates Advisory Boards comprising Business Owners, Company Presidents and Chief Executives dedicated to becoming better leaders who make better decisions and achieve better results.