Ask a few questions, THEN guess

Organizational leaders are paid to act. They are expected to move quickly and decisively with limited data to make things happen. This approach is seen as a necessity to keep up with the speed of business today. The downside of rapid fire decision-making is leaders are often so busy taking action they don't actually get anything accomplished.

I've recently started facilitating sessions with leaders to help them learn how to ask a few questions, then make an educated guess on how to improve performance. The session's called Solving Performance Challenges on a Scratch Pad and it guides managers through simple exercises that get much better results than simply going off of gut instinct.

Here's a quick case study example. Take a moment to read it and then decide what you would do.

A payroll department with four employees was having trouble keeping up with the organization’s growing workforce.  The time required to process payroll at the end of each pay period had increased from three to four days over the past year. The company did not offer direct deposit, so the additional processing time meant paychecks had to be shipped overnight instead of 2nd day air to the company’s 100+ locations.  Managers often submitted their timecards past the deadline, which slowed the process.  The department sat in an open room and the entire team was frequently distracted by visits from local managers dropping off their payroll or stopping by to ask questions.  Their other duties, such as adjusting an employee’s withholding, filing, researching past payroll records, and correcting errors never seemed to slow down either, making their jobs even more difficult.

Implement new technology? Switch to direct deposit? Hire more people? These solutions may all work, but they'll also cost time and money. You can read the case study to find out what worked.

Try our Quick Fix Checklist if you are trying to solve a performance challenge and don't know where to start. Or, feel free to contact us if you'd like some help.