I have always been pretty diligent to leave the office with an empty desk. I make every effort to respond to all my e-mails, even if it just means to say Thank-You for sharing and voice-mails answered and responded ... so far, the next day looks promising.
So I admit my morning commute happens primarily with muscle memory so this then allows my mind to plan the day ahead. What decisions do I need to make or be involved with?, What problems need to solved?, Meetings to Attend, and finally Projects that I want to work on, Proud of my plan I am already starting to celebrate my accomplishments but then I walk into the office and KABOOM assaulted with unanticipated "Disturbances to Flow" that require immediate attention. Does this happen to you?
So I have accepted that customer issues surface during the night whether it be quality related or them needing additional inventory and of course some of those pesky machines have decided they don't want to play today or even worse some of the people did not show up to work.
I have learned to compartmentalize my working day into three segments. I do have loose time-lines for each segment, but they are fluid boundaries;
Resolve Disturbance to Flow -- Start of Shift to 11:00AM
Departmental Meetings -- 11:00AM to 2:00PM
Projects and Initiatives -- 2:00PM to end of Day
I like to share my structured segments within the organization. I fully expect my team to be on the floor working with Team Members resolving Disturbances to Flow and not sitting at a desk writing reports. Of course sometimes the resolution of Disturbances to Flow will blur into my Departmental segment or consume the entire day.
MEETINGS, Those dang meaningless meetings
A former boss instilled in me that a meeting should only be called if a group decision is required to me made or a policy deployed ... for everything else read your e-mails or daily reports ... except perhaps for the following:
Quick 3-5 minute meetings to review yesterdays performance, handle employee concerns and verify today's expectations covering the attributes of Health& Safety, Quality, Performance and Continuous Improvement. I love these meetings and they are not optional in any organization i lead, within minutes i fully know the state of our business and where my "Gift of Time" should be donated for maximum impact.
Weekly Project Meeting
Should only be 30 minutes, just to cover last week's accomplishments and this week's plan unless additional decisions need to be made and insure projects are on track and on budget.
Monthly Reflection Meeting
Mandatory to be held within the first week into the new month and preferably with completed financials. as a slight variation of the Demming model of PDCA as a team we do the following:
CHECK -- last month's performance to plan. Although i should already know if i attended the Daily Report-Outs
DO -- one last verification we will execute our plan for the month and meet our plan.
ACT -- verification that we are on track to have everything ready to allow us to execute next month's plan including any and all new product and service launches.
PLAN -- 2 months out, as a team let us discuss any concerns and how to mitigate for example statutory holidays, anticipated demand forecasts, manpower plan, training requirements or certifications.
Bye-Bye - I'm heading home
I really do attempt to do a final glance at e-mails get them answered, return any phone calls or take them with me to do from the car during my commute home. I really do love having an empty desk ...But the most important final task of the day is my personal reflection of ...
What Went Well
What Did Not Go Well
What I Could Have Done Different
Planned Accomplishments for Tomorrow (fodder for my commute into work)
Finally what percent of my day involved me being the TEACHER or a STUDENT? Too much of being a teacher i will get bored and want to move on and too much of being a student i may not be adding value to the organization and impeding progress.
KAPOW Happens ... your day may get chaotic but if you install some stable touch-points even if only mentally you will get as exhausted.
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