In the early days of medicine, doctors were often forced to rely on trial and error when it came to curing illnesses, healing wounds and saving lives. Take Dr. Dwight Harken, for example. As a young, U.S. Army surgeon, Harken’s patient base was primarily young soldiers who were evacuated from the European front during World War II with shell fragments and bullets lodged in their hearts. After several experiments and studies on animals, Harken successfully developed a technique that allowed him to cut into a still-beating heart to locate and remove the shrapnel. Once he perfected the technique, he tried the procedure on the human heart. All of his patients survived.
Now, thanks to historical figures like Harken and other cardiovascular trailblazers, doctors and other medical professionals have the capability via advances in modern medicine to look into your body and monitor the critical elements that keep you alive and well.
Just as the complexity of medical science continues to challenge doctors, so does the world of business for entrepreneurs. Instead of relying solely on the physical appearance of a busy office or the perceived productivity of each employee, managers, CEO’s and business owners have to utilize tools like management software, work-tracking solutions and other resources to gain better visibility into the atmosphere of a company.
If you continue to struggle with office transparency and creating a stellar work environment, check out these four common reasons company leaders fail to see what’s happening within a team.
1. You Rely Too Much on the Manual Reporting Process
Just because your company values things like transparency and visibility doesn’t mean you’re always doing your best to epitomize them. To better understand this, it’s helpful to revisit the medical/entrepreneur metaphor again; if a doctor in today’s world were to rely solely on decades-old practices like that of Harken, instead of using and implementing modern tools and resources, chances are this doctor would struggle to achieve reliable, favorable outcomes.
Similarly, as the CEO or manager of a company, if you rely solely on a manual process to track and report work, the transparency of your company will inevitably suffer. Instead of holding regular status meetings, constantly emailing or stopping in on employees to check on task progress, or having employees track time cards by hand, make sure that you’re taking advantage of a comprehensive work management solution to add visibility to your reporting process and collect all your correspondence and data tracking in a single platform.
2. Email is Still Your Go-To Resource
As a business professional, it probably comes as no surprise to find that email—though beneficial in many ways—is often a leading killer of office productivity. Furthermore, relying on it as the sole way to gain visibility and transparency into your team’s inner workings is detrimental to success. An online survey in 2015 found that a majority of adult, white-collar workers estimate they spend 6.3 hours a day checking email, and that a majority of this time is spent responding to, sorting, and deleting specific emails. Another study found that 205 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2015, with numbers expected to reach 246 billion by 2019.
Despite the prediction that email will continue to grow in prevalence over the coming years, relying on it as your eyes and ears into your team’s productivity and wellness is grossly inefficient. Instead of turning to your email server for things like group collaboration, proofs and approvals, task requests, etc., seek out tools and resources that will help you achieve these functions in a more streamlined and effective way.
3. You Neglect to Capitalize on Software Integrations
Today’s entrepreneurs are fortunate to have a wealth of cutting-edge software solutions and other resources available to help gain transparency into the health, productivity, and viability of a team. From goals and key decisions to performance and accountability, there is applicable software that helps integrate these critical elements into your daily business happenings.
While all of these individual software applications help to add transparency and efficiency in the office, having too many that work independently from one another will inevitably cause you more harm than good. Instead of spending your days jumping from application to application, manually inputting information and configuring data, consider implementing a cloud-based solution like Workfront to help bring together various software programs like email, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, SharePoint, Salesforce, Adobe Creative Cloud and many other beneficial business tools.
4. Streamlined Workflows are Nonexistent
As a team leader, you know firsthand just how drastically projects can differ from one another, and you can’t always rely on the same procedures to guarantee favorable outcomes. However, approaching each project the same way will only lead to a lack of consistency, a lack of visibility, and a lack of success.
By streamlining workflows, on the other hand, not only does the entire company work in a more efficient manner but it’s easier for you to:
- Maintain visibility into what is going on within your team
- Analyze the productivity of each employee
- See what changes need to be made to further team unity and success
Again, with streamlined applications like Workfront and other resources, you’ll have seamless access to data transparency and project management tools that help you dramatically enhance the efficiency of your business.
Looking Under the Skin
Just as surely as a critical patient needs life support, your workflow needs the assistance of technology to reach its full potential. Don’t mire yourself in the methods of the past—find a solution that works for you, and take your first steps into the future.