How do you know when it’s time to update a practice in your work, on your team or even in your life?

One of the most expensive phrases in the business world is “This is how we’ve always done it”. What that usually means is we’re too busy to change it and it’s easier to just keep doing the same time wasting practice over and over.

The SMART workplace helps teams step back and take a close look at their current practices, identify unnecessary work and reconnect with more efficiency and better tools. Here are the steps we follow to help teams dump outdated business practices:

  1. Have a team discussion about what is driving inefficient, and unnecessary work and the impact it is having.
  2. As a team, complete a SWAT analysis to identify what’s working and areas for improvement.
  3. Each team member commits to changing at least one practice that no longer brings value to the team and drafts an action plan.
  4. Team members pair up and become accountability partners.
  5. Ongoing review of progress and outcomes at periodic intervals with a focus on results and business impacts.

This makes sense, doesn’t it? So does eating right and exercising daily.. doesn’t mean it actually gets done. We are always so caught up in the urgent work of the day that we often fail to do the important, foundational work and this exercise in reducing unnecessary work is important.

Here are a few ideas to help you and your team set aside the time:

  • At least once per quarter reserve one hour (or more) to review team operations. This time can be used to focus on communication, technology, managing results, meeting efficiency, etc. The outcome should be agreed upon new practices that the team will use going forward.
  • Reward team members for redesign ideas that are implemented, today we seem to reward people for working long hours, it’s time we reward them for working smart!
  • Work with IT to automate processes that are currently done manually. I worked with a team to prepare for a remote work program and their leader said it wouldn’t work for them because all the files were in the office… (Yes, it’s the way they had always done it!)
  • Sometimes it just takes an outside source to tell the team they can do better, so reach out to customers, colleagues and other resources inside the organization to help the team identify what it’s time to let go of.

So what can you do next? Continue to sit through the outdated voicemail instructions? Or you can visit us at The SMART Workplace and check out our free assessments that will help you and your team have a valuable discussion about time wasting, team practices and what you can do to change them.  Trina and I will be speaking at WorldatWork Total Reward Conference on May 8th! Please stop in to hear more insights about team effectiveness and employee engagement!