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How to Improve Operational Efficiency Under Pressure

In a previous role as a VP of Continuous Improvement, I often found myself caught in the crossfire of high expectations and limited time.


The demands from the upper echelons of management were relentless, and I felt the unceasing pressure to balance large-scale initiatives with the continuous improvements that formed the bedrock of our organization's efficiency.


The result? Occasional colossal headaches and a persistent feeling of being pulled in multiple directions.


But in the midst of this whirlwind, I stumbled upon a deceptively simple yet remarkably effective strategy: segmenting my day.


This pragmatic approach proved to be a game-changer, offering a structured solution to tackle both the "Disturbances to Flow" and the broader Strategic Initiatives that shaped our organization's future.


Here's a closer look at how this segmentation strategy works and why it's indispensable for any leader striving to strike a balance between these critical aspects of their role.


(Need more personalized help with operational efficiency in your business? We've set some time aside to speak with you about any problem you may be facing. What's more, we are currently accepting new clients, which you can ask us about. Book a complimentary consultation today.)


Morning: Dealing with "Disturbances to Flow"


The morning became my sanctuary for addressing the immediate challenges that disrupted the smooth flow of our operations.


These "Disturbances to Flow" encompassed a myriad of issues—production bottlenecks, quality deviations, supply chain hiccups, and any unforeseen problems that could jeopardize our daily operations.


By reserving the morning for these urgent matters, I ensured they received my full and undivided attention.



This approach allowed me to tackle these issues head-on when I was at my freshest and most alert. It was a time when I could dive deep into root cause analysis, collaborate with cross-functional teams, and swiftly implement corrective actions.


The mornings were all about resolving these critical issues efficiently, preventing them from snowballing into larger crises.


Afternoon: Strategic Initiatives for Growth and Improvement


In contrast, my afternoons were designated for big-picture thinking—the Strategic Initiatives that charted the course for our organization's growth and improvement.


These initiatives encompassed long-term strategies, process optimizations, technology investments, and innovative approaches to enhance our competitive edge.


By keeping the afternoons separate from the morning's firefighting mode, I could dedicate uninterrupted blocks of time to strategic planning.


Focusing on strategic initiatives in the afternoon allowed for deeper contemplation, data analysis, and collaboration with key stakeholders to shape the future of our business.


It also ensured that these critical initiatives received the time and focus they deserved, unburdened by the immediate demands of the morning.


The Reality: Balancing Both Worlds


The reality is that both large-scale initiatives and continuous improvements are essential for an organization's success.


However, trying to juggle them simultaneously often leads to suboptimal results. Large initiatives require strategic thinking, while continuous improvements demand attention to detail and a relentless pursuit of efficiency.


Segmenting my day helped me strike that balance effectively. It allowed me to address the pressing issues without neglecting the future-focused initiatives. It's not about prioritizing one over the other; it's about giving each the dedicated focus it needs.


The art of segmenting your day is a pragmatic solution to the complex challenges faced by leaders in a rapidly evolving business landscape.


By reserving your mornings for immediate problem-solving and your afternoons for strategic planning, you create a structured approach that enhances your productivity, decision-making, and ultimately, your organization's success.


This is not just a simple trick; it's a profound strategy that can make a world of difference in your role as a leader.


Need more personalized help with operational efficiency in your business? We've set some time aside to speak with you about any problem you may be facing. What's more, we are currently accepting new clients, which you can ask us about. Book a complimentary consultation today.

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