What Opportunities Are You Ignoring?

Every day, I hear the same thing over and over, no matter who I ask. The answer is always, “I am so busy” to the question, “how are you doing?” I think we should all stop, think about what we are saying, and evaluate what we are so busy doing.

In his monthly column for Agency Nation, Vancouver based employee engagement and internal brand communications expert Ben Baker shares his insights into how to communicate value effectively, so people want to listen and engage. In the end, it’s about creating influence through trust.

The first question we need to ask ourselves is busy doing what, and once we can answer that, the next question should be, how is this busy work benefiting the company I work with and me? Being busy is easy. We can be busy making phone calls, researching things on the internet, writing emails to clients, typing up reports, going to meetings and a vast array of other things.

The big problem is that busy does not necessarily equate to efficiency, nor does it equate to profitable.

As business owners and leaders within your organizations, are you wanting your people to be busy or do you want them to be doing the work that leads to corporate success, job satisfaction and happy clients?

What opportunities are your people missing by doing busy work instead of work that directly contributes to the success of the company?

Are you overburdening your people with paperwork? Are the reports needed to satisfy C-Suite dashboards and justify middle management positions helping steer the company in the right direction? Are policies and procedures within the organizations keeping people from helping customers and putting up walls of inefficiency between departments? Are your internal and external communications methods leading people to have to repeat themselves over and over again to be understood?

All of these factors are leading you and your company to ignore opportunities to create greater success both inside and outside the corporation.

Please do not misunderstand me, paperwork, especially in the insurance world, is necessary to make sure that legal requirements are maintained and for audit purposes. However, in a world of machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data, why are humans doing tasks that machines can do far more effectively and efficiently?

By enabling technology to do the task-based work, it frees humans up to provide better customer experience and listen for and uncover opportunities that they cannot when they are burdened with paperwork. Having the machines search for anomalies and red flag them in ways that allow humans to provide better solutions seems like a far better use of time than just doing busywork. Those same computers should be able to amalgamate reports more effectively and develop dashboards that can just be reviewed and augmented before being sent up for review instead of spending needless hours developing them.  These changes can uncover economies of scale, more effective ways of departments working together and significantly impact clients.

In terms of policies and procedures, when was the last time your company evaluated why you did what you did with an eye on creating efficiencies and getting rid of outdated methods that frustrate everyone concerned? Too many companies set policies and never evaluate them. They do not look for better ways of doing things that reduce stress, frustration and anxiety even when all it may take is a simple conversation and a simple shift of thought.  Why? Because people are too busy, doing busy work to take the time to realize that change, even small change, can make a huge impact. All of which will uncover opportunities that were right in front of you, but missed because you did not have the time or inclination to review policies and procedures.

The final thing that needs to be discussed, in terms of uncovering opportunities, is ineffective communication. Whether that communication is within a department, inter-departmental or with external clients. When we talk at people, instead of with people, when we listen to interrupt instead of listen to understand and when we assume we know before we query, we are missing opportunities.

Ineffective communication, both inside an organization or with clients, leads to opportunities missed.

We need to learn to listen to those we work with and our customers, without assumptions, without biases and preconceived notions of right or wrong if we truly want to create new opportunities and solidify relationships. The more we listen to understand, the more we can uncover and understand why people are frustrated or feel that they are being undervalued. It is those frustrations that lead to mistrust and that mistrust leads to disengagement.

I implore you, take the time to understand how ineffective paperwork, policies, procedures, and communication is leading to frustration for both your people and your clients, creating nonprofitable busy work and keeping you from uncovering new opportunities for success.

Ben Baker wants to help you engage, retain, and grow your most valuable asset … your employees. He provides workshops and consulting to enable staff to understand, codify, and communicate their value effectively internally and externally and Retain Employees Through Leadership. The author of  Powerful Personal Brands: A Hands-On Guide to Understanding Yours and the host of the IHEART Radio syndicated YourLIVINGBrand.live show, he writes extensively on leadership, brand, and internal communication strategy. 

Our COMPLIMENTARY ONLINE COURSE is now available: “KNOW –  LIKE – TRUST! How to Develop Your Personal Brand” CLICK HERE to access the course

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