If It Ain’t Broke, Fix It Anyway, by Michael C. Dennis

With the so-called “information age,” the business landscape is very different than it was 10-15 years ago. Lots of things are happening faster than ever before: speed to market, speed at which your customers demand information about your product, venues of where your products are sold, decreased budgets (read: do more with less resources) and more data than ever before now available about your customers, and that just scratches the surface.

The conventional wisdom is not to change anything until you are forced to do so, but sustained competitiveness can only come from improved productivity. Improving productivity requires change. Unfortunately, no matter how good or how well-reasoned or how well-documented a proposed change might be, some people on your team will resist it anyway.

In this changed world, it’s necessary to completely evaluate everything you’re doing as a company and be ready to answer the WHY question: “WHY are you doing this task, and how does it add to the whole project?” If you cannot answer the question, it’s time to let go of that project in favor of one that does have an answer. “We’ve done it this way since before I was here” no longer is a good enough answer.

As a manager, lead by example. Change is not easy, but when your staff sees the benefits firsthand of process evaluation, though it may be hard for them to adapt, this evaluation process will (slowly) find its way into your corporate culture. Remember, it’s all about working smarter, not harder.

Have you had any experience in your organization with process changes? We’d love to hear your stories.

Michael is the author of the Encyclopedia of Credit (www.encyclopediaofcredit.com), a free, fast, internet resource for credit and collection professionals. He is a consultant, and the author of “Credit and Collection Forms and Procedures Manual” as well as a frequent instructor at CMA-sponsored educational events. He can be contacted at 949-584-9685.

Must Do – Michael Dennis, CBF

Must Do List
Must Do List

A decade or so ago, I carried around a particular brand of Day Planner about 2 inches thick.  I attended a workshop on how to use it, and other workshops on related topics including Prioritizing and Creating a To-Do List.

That was then, and this is now.  I no longer focus on generating daily To-Do lists.  I no longer worry about classifying tasks as: A, or B or a C priority.  Now, I have a Must-Do list which is far shorter than my To-Do list would be.  This allows me to focus on the tasks that must be completed…or else.

Instead of assigning tasks as: A, B or C priorities, I now focus on identifying and completing only A priority tasks.   The rationale for doing is as follow:  I will be very lucky just to complete the A priority tasks each day.  Therefore, I can ignore B and C tasks unless they, at some point, become A priorities.

When I share this technique, I am sometimes asked this question:  How do you keep track of B and C tasks so they do not get overlooked?  The answer is that I don’t track them.  When a B or C task becomes an A priority, I add it to my list and take care of it.  The only time I work on B or C priority tasks is on those rare occasions when I have completed all my A priorities.  Another common question is:  How do you track your Must-Do’s?  As I mentioned earlier, I generate or more precisely update my Must-Do list every day.

Michael Dennis, MBA, CBF, LCM
Michael Dennis, MBA, CBF, LCM

In my opinion, everyone should have a Must-Do list, and focus on it.   In this way, each of us can focus our time, energy and attention on the tasks that are the most important.  I also believe this process may not work for everyone…but it works for me.

Michael Dennis’ Covering Credit Commentary. Michael’s website is  www.coveringcredit.com

The opinions presented are those of the author.  The opinions and recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of CMA, or their Officers and Directors.  Readers are encouraged to evaluate any suggestions or recommendations made, and accept and adopt only those concepts that make sense to them.

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