Working ‘On’ Not Just ‘In’ Your Business

So it’s another Monday; the start to another week. I wonder how many of us turn up at work and just sort of drift into the week. You know, pick up our emails (a classic week-starter), scan over our calendars for the week and then get on with something?

Here’s a variation on the theme: before you do all those things think about one thing you want to achieve this week that is not part of your operational duties. Let me explain what I mean by that. We all have a job to do: defined duties, targets to achieve and deadlines to hit. Whilst we are fulfilling these key aspects of our working life we are deemed to be “working in our business”, a good idea if we want to keep our jobs I should think, but there’s more. Whilst working in our business we are getting things done but we are also prolonging the status quo: we are not “working on our business”. When we work on our business we are improving the system, refining how we do things and looking for efficiencies. Longer term these leverage activities are the way we add real value and get noticed.  People who spend too much time in their business and not on their business tend to stand still so what can you do?

Start right away. Think of an area of your operations that are not working efficiently or that takes up a lot of time or something where you often think “this is a waste of time”, then set a goal to do something about it this week. Find some thinking time, talk to people, a  little research perhaps or maybe just dive in and experiment doing things a different way. This is how things evolve – one small piece at a time. Do this now and then revisit progress at the end of the week. Of course if you choose the old “but I don’t have time” excuse well, fair enough but will you ever have time (we both know the answer to that) and if not now then when?

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