Efficiency, systems, and startups

I have had the pleasure of working both in organizations that have well established

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System ideas

systems and startups where I have gotten to participate in the building of the systems. Some may have the impression that startups ensue systems and that part of the reason they are able to disrupt the industries is because they are not beholden to rigid systems. Let me share my experiences with you and the hypothesizes I have developed due to those experiences.

 

  • Systems are helpful and essential in any size organization
  • Systems can be stifling if there is not a process to update or change them when they are not working for the betterment of organization
  • Systems can free up organizations to explore creatively

 

Systems are helpful and essential in any size organization. In a large and small organizations, you need systems to help run the place. Systems for finance, manufacturing if making a product, and how your organization is going to achieve growth. First off so many startups have failed because they failed to pay attention to their finances. Having a robust system around your finances should not inhibit scaling or creativity but it will let you weigh your choices based upon your runway. The reasons for having a finance system in a large company are obvious however the system that is implemented needs to be flexible enough that your business stays solvent but that you don’t hold the purse strings so tight that you retard growth.

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Startups

Systems can be stifling if there is not a process to update or change them when they are not working for the betterment of organization. Systems are meant to improve the efficiency and effective use of your time and resources. If they are so ridged that they are costing your organization time and resources the system is either not implemented correctly or the wrong system for your company. If your employees are having to work outside of the system or are making exceptions to the system often because to work within the system is too onerous then it is too ridged and is costing you time and resources.

Systems can free up organizations to explore creatively. If your organization has implemented systems correctly then you should see more time and resources freed up for other uses. If your organization is then operating more efficiently and effectively with the same amount of resource you suddenly have more resources to put towards creative endeavors that could propel your company to the next stage of growth. If this is a possibility why wouldn’t you either examine your existing systems to improve them or implement some?

 

Comment below and tell me if your experiences have proven out different theories.

Supply chain , blockchain, and efficiency

I have spent the better part of a decade as an active participant in the supply chain fulfilling different role. I have been a in the ordering, receiving, and producing roles in the supply chain. Participating in all these different roles of the supply chain has made me empathize with others that are fulfilling the different roles in the supply chain. It has also given me a global view of the whole process and an appreciation for when it runs efficiently.

As our supply chains cross boarders, the less control we have of the process. If you get a poor-quality part or late delivery from another country it can be exceedingly difficult to resolve the issues. The rise of counterfeit parts has been an ongoing problem also. All of these issues add to the complexity and inefficiency that can plague the supply chain.

There are several companies out there that are trying to solve the issues and inefficiency in the supply chain through distributed ledger technology(DLT). Several different DLTs are being

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Photo by David McBee from Pexels

leveraged like blockchain and Ethereum. The idea is that through the better traceability in both the financials and the provenance from the cradle to grave in the process the supply chain will become more efficient and effective. Adding in the ability for machines to certify through DLT that the part they made is the part you ordered and received will be a huge step in reducing counterfeit products in the supply chain. All these changes together will improve the revenue for all parties involved. The insurance companies will benefit through the traceability, the cost of the parts should decrease due to the elimination of counterfeit parts in the market, and the final price to the customer should decrease because of the improved process and cost savings that can be passed on.

Large companies are implementing the blockchain in their own supply chains to optimize their processes. There are also a few different startups that are competing in this space also. It will be interesting to see who rises to the top to improve the supply chain process. Comment below and tell me who you think will be the best in the space.

Efficiency and health

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, these are my opinions and should not be taken as fact. In fact, I suggest that you do not choose to take the opinions expressed here or life in general too seriously.

I am in the process of trying to reclaim my health. I am trying to harness my natural proclivity for efficiency and processes to build a robust system that will help me do just that.

To reclaim my health, I am implementing a multi tired system with multiple processes. Of course, I want these processes in the system to work together efficiently and compliment the other processes I have in place. The first tier and process I have in place

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Food picture from Pexels

is around the food that I consume. First, I have a schedule and process setup to facilitate adhering to a type of eating that I have deemed healthy for myself. I find if I do not stick to my processes I will easily go off track and eat in a manner that does not enable my health endeavors. I think the type of eating style I am pursuing is less important than consistency. To maintain consistency I have dedicated one day a week to meal preparation, I make good use of an instant pot, plastic containers, and multi meal planning. Any meals I plan at least make four meals. I have come to realize if I go over board and make a meal that I would have to eat everyday during the week I will become bored with it and also go off plan. Part of designing an efficient and robust process is planning for the boredom. I do this by freezing some of what I prepare and making sure I have multiple flavors to choose from during the week.

The second process of the system is exercise. I have struggled with part as of late and I am currently trying to implement a more robust process that is in all honesty harder to self-sabotage. I am my own worst enemy. Currently I power lift three times a week.

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Mountain Biking Picture from Pexels

I have found with whatever other exercise I participate in being strong is always to my advantage. I am never going to be a world class athlete or participate in a sport that requires me to loss muscle mass. I also will never get to the size with power lifting that it hinders any of the other activities I like to do. I have determined that I need to find a way to include other exercise in my daily routine. I hate treadmills, and other similar types of exercise equipment where you work hard and go nowhere. I am not a natural runner but I will take a run outside with my dogs over the treadmill in the gym any day. I am currently experimenting with morning yoga followed by tabata workout. I hope that as this becomes habit I will find the motivation to start riding my bikes again which is something I use to really love doing. Due to the current circumstances of my life I have to get my exercise in the morning or weekend.

The third process I have implemented is emotional and mental health. I have been trying

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Emotions picture from Pexels

out different mindfulness exercises that I use after yoga. These mindfulness exercises are to help me improve my daily interaction with others. If I am able to be positive in the majority of the interactions I have with others no matter their behavior I will feel better emotionally. I also have been listening to audio books on tape and have several books on my reading list that are either about emotional intelligence or nonviolent communication to improve or change my own behaviors. I have no control over others just my own behavior. I find this to be one of the hardest tasks to put into a process. I hope with practice it becomes like y other processes and naturally becomes part of my system of self-care.

All of these processes working together are part of my whole life system. The smoother I can make that system run the better. The better my systems are the more I can do for myself and others. My belief is that through efficient systems I can live a better life. Even if the only improvement I see is being able to spend more time playing with my dogs that day I still consider that an improvement. Tell me below in the comments what you do to make your life better.

Efficiency and project management

Project management is supposed to improve the efficiency, productivity, and outcomes in companies and organizations. There are many tools for project management, web based, desktop based, tablet based. They follow different types of project management: agile, waterfall, scrum, and critical path just to name a few. Then there are different types of projects are you executing a planned product launch, or performing analysis, or exploratory research for a new direction. You also have different project managers with different personalities. So even with all these different factors the final goal does not change, successful completion of the project according to the criteria that you have set out. So, with all these different options how do you determine the most efficient path?

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Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

It is important to recognize that even though we all may have certain biases towards certain project management processes that there is not one-size fits all. Different personalities, different organizations, and different products and services means that we must be open to using all different types of project management to be successful as often as possible.

The Project Management Institute recommends implementing Organizational Project Management which is a corporation wide system for implementing and figuring out the correct project management process for each project. This might be a bit out of reach for the individual or smaller organizations with less resources. I think a good first step is to honestly asses the project managers strengths and contrast them with the needed skills for the particular project. If you find that there is a good cross between the skills needed and available then moving on and assessing the type of project and deliverables to determine the type and platform needed. Here are good assessments of different types of projects and project management types. Once you have familiarized yourself with the different options you will be able to properly assess the needs and implement the most efficient project management tool for your projects.

What is your favorite project management type and what kind of projects is it good for? Let me know below in the comments.

Good leadership = efficiency

There are a few posts out there about how to be a good leader and how to improve your efficiency and effectiveness as a leader. But I would like to make the statement that I think good and humane leadership equals better companywide efficiency. It is an interesting pattern that you see when you look for articles and tips about how to be a good leader you will find topics that will be similar to those you find in posts about:

Having a workplace with lower employee turnover is a more efficient organization. It is better for employee morale and the bottom line of the company. Training new employees costs the company time and money. Posts about this emphasizes things like respect, emotional intelligence, sharing vision, give and receive feedback, build trust, ask them what they want to do, autonomy, praise and recognize contributions, employee friendly policies, and good and open communication.

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Photo by Mikes Photos from Pexels

Having a motivated and engaged workplace is a more productive and efficient workplace. The articles suggest things like supportive leadership, communication, recognize and reward, create a positive environment, employee empowerment.

Improving company culture, efficiency, and productivity all have similar suggestions, improve communication, recognize and reward, positive workplace environment, supportive leadership.

All the things listed above improve the workplace and the organization for the better. What is interesting is how the same things that are listed for improving the workplace and organization have similar themes as how to be a good leader like, be passionate = share your vision, listen and communicate = good and open communication, positive attitude = positive workplace, encourage people to contribute = employee empowerment, offer rewards and recognition = praise and recognize contributions. A workplace and organization that is functional and efficient will be as good as it’s leader

A productive and efficient organization will be a reflection of the leadership and vice versa I think that is why the advice given for the topics listed above and how to be a good leader follow a similar theme.

Comment below and tell me what would you work on first as a leader and employee?

Efficiency and procrastination

Efficiency and procrastination are two different sides of the same coin. If you didn’t procrastinate so much you wouldn’t need to be so efficient (I say this to myself often enough). I have not yet found a tried and true way to eliminate procrastination from my life I go through periods where I am not able to pull back enough time to get things done or spend time with my loved ones because I have let procrastination creep too far into my life. Those are the points in my life at which I sit myself down and reset. I look at what tools I am not using and why I stopped using them. I evaluate whether it was the tool or me and maybe a bit of both. If the tool is too onerous to use even if I have devoted time to setting it up then it is not likely I will continue using it. I tend to procrastinate more on tasks that the consequences only effect me. If someone else would be detrimentally effected by my procrastination I will most likely not procrastinate, so work is generally safe.

The author of xkcd drew a comic outlining how he revamped his computer to prevent additional procrastination.

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Let Go by xkcd

I think my procrastination is why I was initially drawn to efficiency. I had wasted time so I had to become efficient in how I executed tasks. At some point I started to be efficient for the sake of itself not just because I had to. However, I can fall back into bad habits that force me to reevaluate. No one wants to admit to being a habitual procrastinator but I would postulate that efficiency came about because of the habitual procrastinator that still had the drive to be successful. This article by Stacey Marone at Asian Efficiency talks about how being productive is not a natural occurrence that being productive is hard work and takes time to develop. Adam Grant in his book Originals talks about how deliberate procrastination can improve certain kind of work. By letting the ideas percolate in the back of your mind you allow them time to mature into better versions. That is not to be used as an excuse to procrastinate on everything though some tasks just need to get done they don’t need to mature.

“Procrastination may be the enemy of productivity, but it can be a resource for creativity.”
― Adam M. GrantOriginals: How Nonconformists Move the World

An often quoted adage is Parkinson’s Law: work expands to fill the time available for its completion. Though some use this to enable their procrastination they put off a task till the last minute saying that if I only have an hour left to complete the task it’ll only take an hour. This could lead to less than quality work though if you miss calculated the time for the task. I think the better way to apply Parkinson’s Law and be more efficient is by using it to realistically evaluating the time the task needs and executing it before the last hour available to ensure that you have completed quality work and then you can use Adam Grant’s procrastination creativity improvement and let the work hangout and see if you mind comes up with any last minute improvements.

How do you combine procrastination and efficiency? Let me know below in the comments.

Ticktock-Time Management

Time management and efficiency are natural partners. One of the main themes in time management blogs, articles, and post is efficient effectiveness. The sources of time management tips, posts, and books abound. People are constantly trying to optimize how they use their time. Time is a precious commodity and a massive industry.

  • How can I spend more time with my loved ones?
  • How can I get more work done?
  • How can I learn more skills?
  • How can I get more naps with my dogs in day?

If this article is correct that we are actually only productive 2 hours and 53 minutes out of each work day that means we really do need all these time management tips to get our work done. What could we do if we doubled that estimate?

Part of the reason I try to improve my efficiency is so that I do have more time. arrows-background-black-and-white-745365I want to be effective and a productive member of society but I also want more time to experience what life has to offer. Time management is an effective tool whichever method you choose to employee to get more time. I use a combination of different tools while at work and at home. I don’t have recommendations because I think it is something that needs to be customized for each individual and their situation. I highly recommend experimenting with different methods till you find a system that works for you. Don’t get discouraged because you try out some cool new method and you aren’t able to make it work for you and your situation. This is not a case of one size fits all like one of those horrible ponchos that keep coming back into fashion.

Time management is a practice in efficiency and all those sources that I mentioned above are trying to give us the gift of more time.

Comment below and tell me what you would do with that gift.