Spring is still a month away, but looking ahead seems to make the winter go so much faster. January or February is the perfect time for companies to make improvements that will have a major impact on the current fiscal year. Instead of adding new staff, buying new technology or introducing a new business process, I would recommend “shopping your closet”. This is the third post in a series where I discussed the dilemma many companies face – they have a “closet” full of stuff (capable people, processes, tools, technology, etc.) but never seem to have anything to “wear”. A few weeks ago I suggested that there is a process to “Shop your Closet” which is methodical and time tested.
As a reminder, here are the basic steps:
- Step 1 – Take everything out, review it and create an inventory
- Step 2 - Review Your Inventory and classify it – Retain, Phase Out, Tweak to Retain
- Step 3 – Create a “Reorganization” Strategy
- Step 4 – Execute a “Reorganization” Strategy
- Step 5 – Identify Any Gaps
- Step 6 – Close your Gaps
- Step 7 – Enjoy the Fruit of your Labor
I have already shared Step 1 and 2 and today I will combine steps 3 and 4. I will cover the rest of the process in subsequent posts.
- Step 3 & 4 – Create and Execute a “Reorganization” Strategy
In Step 2 you took everything out of our closet and classified it into three categories: Retain, Phase Out and Tweak to Retain. It is a great start but now you must act. In Step 3 you need to plan what you are going to do with your “inventory” depending on what category it falls in. Most people like to jump to execute and skip the planning phase (create the strategy) but frankly the time you invest in planning will actually speed up your execute phase, trust me. After you have the strategy in place we can execute against it – imagine building a house without blueprints (Disaster!). Once again I will teach you how to apply this approach to your wardrobe AND your department as follows:
o For your Wardrobe
- Retain – whatever you decide to retain, you need to find a home where it will not get buried in the clutter again. Think through where you will house it to make it more visible and accessible. Your plan should include space requirements and how to organize for visibility. Here are some helpful execution steps – separate blouses, skirts, dresses and pants. Further organize by season. If it is winter, put the summer clothes to the back of the closet. Next colorize everything – put all the black pants together, then brown, then navy, etc. Here is where you discover that you have a dozen pairs of great black pants and buying one more pair is crazy!!! For shoes, invest in clear plastic boxes and again colorize everything so that what you keep is visible.
- Phase Out – those items you are going to phase out need a destination. You have several options so plan ahead. Have a plan for resale items or think about whether you might have a friend that will take some of your things. One destination might be the garbage (that option is really easy to execute) and yet another might be a local charity (they are not as easy to find as you may think). The idea here is to get rid of what you don’t want to remove the clutter so move fast. If planned you can execute this very quickly
- Tweak to Retain – for those items that have a chance, decide what needs to be tweaked in order to make them valuable to you. The gaps you identify will require a plan for closure. Include your plan as part of Step 6.
- For your Department
- Retain– whatever you decide to retain whether it is people, process or technology you need to determine if you are getting maximum value from your investment. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I utilizing all the skills that my department possesses?
- What is the % of adoption of the technology I have available to me? Do we have SAP but are only using 10% of the functionality?
- What is the % of adoption of the tools and processes that I have available to me? Having a great toolkit at my disposal that no one is using is useless.
Getting the answers to these questions will help you to plan what you need to do to increase the visibility and adoption rate of the valuable investments you already have. Then execute it.
- Phase Out – the most difficult part of this phase will be the people side. This needs to be planned very carefully before you execute. Phasing out can be done over time or immediately. You may be able to move people to different parts of the organization in order to utilize strengths that they have that you are not able to use. BUT keep in mind that phasing out resources that you cannot utilize does have a positive effect because it will reduce your “clutter” and make you much more efficient
- Tweak to Retain – here you decide what will need to be “tweaked” so that your resources (people, process or technology) can add value to your organization. In the case of people it may be training, coaching or mentoring. In the case of process or technology it may be minor adjustments or adoption strategies. The gaps you identify will require a plan for closure. Include your plan as part of Step 6.
Since Spring is right around the corner now is the time to act. If you have already gotten started that is great. If not, get moving now. After Step 3 you have a plan and in step 4, there are pieces that you can begin executing. You are starting to feel better as you discover some untapped resources you already have and start phasing out resources that are getting in your way and creating clutter. I’ll be back at you in the next few weeks to complete the process. In the meantime . . . “Shop Your Closet”!!!