If your journey is a mixed bag of memories in which living up to your expectations has been a difficult ride, then this piece may sound interesting to you-
1. Making the right choices- The decision you make maximize your opportunities to deliver value in the shortest time possible. Any decision that is made can be evaluated against- cost of doing things in the new way versus the cost of doing things in the old way i.e expense of doing things in the old way. I am not data averse, but believe me decisions backed up with data and trends and measuring the results against the outcome gives you surprising results!
2. Visualize your work– Use visualization canvases that will help you see what is being done, what is blocked and what is in progress. It becomes very difficult to actually remember what you are trying to do given the trap we often fall into starting many things in parallel in a quest of doing more 🙂
Based on what you are trying to achieve you can use different visualization canvases , for example- If you are trying to work towards your goals , you could use a goal visualization canvas , if you are part of a team working on project you could use a simple workflow canvas to visualize your workflow. You could create a physical board to radiate your work, or use collaboration tools like trello, idea boards etc to visualize your work at home or work.
3. Eliminate non-value adds– Visualize the different activities you are doing, ask a question if they add any value to your goal or your project. If the answer is NO, eliminate such activities so that you work only on those activities that are aligned to your outcome i.e. your personal goal or team project goal.
4. Continuous reflection- Reflect your working approach to improve the way you work towards to personal or project goals. Continuous improvement may range from making small changes in your daily work routine or major changes in the approach.
Remember, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neale Donald Walsch. Hence getting out of our comfort zones and finding new ways to change the way you work to optimize and accelerate the value delivery is the key to inspecting and adapting on a continuum. Depending on the type of industry, one can use a variety of continuous improvement approaches to be ahead of the others.
The crux of continuous improvement is to set a baseline and a target to improve following the concept of PDCA as listed below
- PLAN: Plan your work, what you want to achieve
- DO: Action plan for working on your plan
- CHECK: Measure your success relative to your plan/baseline.
- ACT: Adjust your plan based on the progress
5. Managing the flow (your work) – Managing your work is as important as working on the right things. Once you prioritize your work and allocate fixed time-boxes, you get a visibility into how much capacity you have and will help you reflect if you are over committing yourself on what you can achieve. Hence planning basis your available capacity and priority, and making your work visible helps bring in the structure and discipline organically.