Top positive review
34 people found this helpful
How to focus on "HOW" I work.
on December 26, 2011
Traditional Work: How you work is probably how you worked.
When I looked at that line in my notebook (after reading Daniel Markowitz's book, A Factory of One) I thought about the busy-ness that many people talk about as they relate to their workday. As you consider what you get done in a typical 8 or 10 or 15-hour shift, do you stop to consider HOW you get that work done?
Over the 145 pages of this well-written - and well-documented - book Dan shows very specific methods you can use to apply "Lean Principles" (traditionally reserved for manufacturing and production lines to remove wasted movements thereby increasing overall productivity) to the "Knowledge Work" that keeps so many of us busy and focused on working overtime.
I was pleased to see Dan write about Parkinson's Law of work: Namely, that the work you have will generally fill the time you have available to do that work. If something is due in a week, it'll take about a week. If it's due later today, well you get the point.
The point of applying Lean Principles to improve personal performance is two-fold:
1. Create a flow of working: so that once you get there, you stay there and produce something (a thought, a product, etc) of value
2. Reduce the stress of wasted movements to focus on more meaningful activity
If you're thinking of getting this book, here's just one of the themes you can expect to explore while you're reading:
Dan asks you to define your "value;" the value of your service or product to the market. Once you've identified that value, then you can work on making things as efficient as possible in order to make that value available to those that matter: clients, community, organization, family, friends, etc. Oh, it might be helpful to know how Dan defines value. I'm walking away with three indicators:
What does the customer pay for?
What are you doing to transform the product or the service?
What activity seems to be done "correctly?"
Of course, you'll walk away from reading this with your own ideas of what "value" means to you, your business, your work. I loved this prompt, though, as it made me think a bit longer about all those "extra to-dos" that have piled up around my own work station lately:
"Should you do better what doesn't deserve doing in the first place?"
Consider what you do, as an entrepreneur, manager, associate of the business you're in. What are the specific activities that you "do" that provide value? The ideas that Dan gives you on (a) how to think about those activities and (b) what to do to make those activities as efficient as possible may be exactly what you need to take not just what you do but HOW you do it to the next level. Imagine being MORE productive without having to buy new technology, hire more staff or change (radically) your business or product.
What WILL you have to change? Your approach to work. To get you think about what that might look, sound and feel like, identify very specifically WHERE your time goes:
Once you identify WHERE your time, energy and focus is "spent" during the day, then it's time to apply Lean Principles to YOUR work. I hope you enjoy reading (and thinking about) this book as much as I did!