Stop Resisting Progress, Start Updating and Automating
The world has changed, yet for some people, the interest in sticking with age-old processes and procedures is still strong. These people will tell you that it takes a little longer to do everything, but they get more satisfaction out of the hard work they put forth. They feel more accomplished putting in the extra time and effort to manually load the machine, run the report, or build the prototype. They like going the extra mile because it makes them feel like they are putting in an honest day’s work.
This is not a sign of you being diligent and committed; it is a failure to understand what is important. Manual labor that could be done with automation shows your resistance to progress and lack of interest in building the best organization possible. It is not about putting in an honest day’s work, but rather, denying reality and the willingness to put forth your best product or service.
The only way you will win is if you stop being complacent and start being focused on discovering ways to simplify production, transform manual activities into automated processes, and update archaic policies that no longer serve the organization well. These actions will result in you cutting costs, streamlining operations, and minimizing idle (and unnecessary) behavior. Maintaining “business as usual” will not generate success, but rather, push you away from being relevant.
This is lost on many. Most organizations try to improve their products and services, but fail to take a truly objective analysis of internal operations. This is unacceptable. You must update and automate. If you do not, you will be wasting time, energy, and resources.
A prime example of this involves a small healthcare company that had steady growth over the course of 10 years yet never adapted to meet the demands of their expanding workforce. One issue involved the extraordinary amount of emails everyone in the company sent and received, and the fatigue that it created. This wasn’t always a problem, but as the company grew, hundreds of hours were being wasted each month by employees checking emails that had no relevance to them.
This was particularly noticeable with one process the company put in place when it started 10 years earlier. The company, which consisted of 12 employees at the time, created an email distribution list in which everyone in the company received an email when something related to a patient’s medication went wrong. With few patients under their care, this practice served a valuable purpose because it got everyone’s attention immediately, allowing them to resolve the issue properly.
The process was effective when the company was small, but as business grew, the policy was never adjusted. This caused a seemingly endless amount of wasted time. At its peak, 200 employees were part of the email group. With as many as 25 patient issues materializing per day, and each issue typically requiring 4 emails to resolve, as many as 20,000 unnecessary emails were being sent and received every day.
After analyzing the situation, a new course of action was put into place. To minimize the unnecessary communication, any employee that discovered an issue with a patient’s medication would place the patient’s account in a specific queue in the computer program the company used. Based on what type of issue it was, the manager who was monitoring the queue would assign it to a particular employee or team. This simple solution cut hundreds of unproductive hours being wasted by employees reading emails.
When you remain stagnant, refuse to analyze policies, or resist automating processes, you are not operating at the level you should be. Manual labor that could be done with automation, unwillingness to update current processes, and the inability to accept that changes need to be made to improve the business display resistance to optimizing productivity. If you maintain this approach, your company will die.
Stop resisting progress. You need to evolve. Identify how you can update and automate, then make changes to improve your operation.