January is Almost Over – “Shop” your way to a Fresh Start

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Yes, January is almost over!  There is no better feeling than a fresh start, whether it is starting a new semester, a new job, moving into a new home OR  looking at your business through a new lens, it is all good!   This is a follow up post from early December 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   It does require an investment but my experience is that the return is 10 – 30 times (yes, times not percent!).  At first it feels daunting – you ask yourself, “where do I start” and I will admit that sometimes getting started is the hardest part.  Don’t be afraid to use a professional – they are experts at the process and even if they seem costly they are worth their weight in gold.  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 Execute your “Reorganization” Strategy
  • Step 6 – Close your Gaps
  • Step 7 – Enjoy the Fruit of your Labor

I started with Step 1 (always a good place to start . . .) and I will share Step 2 today. I will cover the rest of the process in subsequent posts.

  •  Step 2 –  Review Your Inventory and classify it – Retain, Phase Out, Tweak to Retain

While Step 1 was the hard part, this step is by far the most enlightening (and the most fun).  This is where you take a step back and review all your past “purchases”, both the gems and the junk.  Here, you pat yourself on the back for having bought “classic” pieces that have stood the test of time AND for also having made a few stand-out purchases that make you look like a fashion (or business) genius. In this step you will also kick yourself for buying “trendy” pieces that were fine when bought but just don’t work anymore OR for those “what was I thinking? !@#$%” buys.  Use this step to classify your inventory as follows:

  • For your wardrobe
    • Retain – decide what you want to keep and put it to the side
    • Phase Out – if you have not touched it in over three years you probably never will.  Give it to a charity or use a resale shop
    • Tweak to Retain – find those items that you just can’t seem to part with but are not quite right and redesign to retain (e.g. shorten a skirt, turn pants into capris, etc.)
  • For your department
    • Retain – review your long term vision, decide what is of value (people, process, technology) put it to the side to be incorporated into your “reorganization” strategy
    • Phase Out – take a hard look at your entire inventory and where you find people, process or technology that does not fit with your strategic objectives or long term vision determine a phase out strategy.  This can be tough, particularly on the people side BUT remember your goal is to eliminate the “clutter” to make room for that which is of Value to your business.  Phasing out of people does not necessarily mean firing them (perhaps there is another place within the organization that is more suitable for their skills).
    • Tweak to Retain – you will find people, that with some adjustments (new role, training and development, coaching or mentoring) can be valuable contributors to your organization.  The same can be said for processes and technology.  You may find existing processes and technology that with minor adjustments (reengineered, expanded, etc.) or a focus on Adoption.

Since it is the end of January, it is time to get started – remember that is the hardest part! This is step is really where the rubber meets the road.  You may be overwhelmed by what you found in Step 1 (the hidden treasures, the past mistakes and the still-to-be-exploited) but in Step 2 you get “organized” and start to take control of your future, as opposed to the other way around.  Again, before start plowing through your 2013 budget and buying more, make sure that you are getting the maximum value from what you already have.   By the time you get through Step 1 and 2 I’ll be back at you with the next step in the process . . . . .  “Shop Your Closet”!!!

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Anne has been leading consulting and financial management organizations for over 25 years. She has extensive expertise in Strategic Sourcing, change management, contracting & contract management (both the buy side and sell side) organizational design and supply chain management. Anne has a passion for collaborating and educating her clients while helping them to uncover hidden value in their organizations. In addition, Anne has been named by Supply & Demand Chain Executive as a “Top 100 Provider Pro to Know” every year since 2007 and a 2013 Top Female Supply Chain executive.

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