You stumble in late AGAIN, citing deadlocked traffic, no parking, or the classic verbose meeting organizer. After fumbling through your messy briefcase, you finally pull out the papers you were looking for and join the meeting in progress in a mildly flustered state.
Maybe it’s not you that’s disorganized, but your company that needs a systems overhaul. Communication errors, duplication of efforts, missing files or invoices tell the story – and trust me, your clients/customers, suppliers, strategic partners hear you loud and clear.
Sound vaguely familiar?
Don’t kid yourself that people don’t notice. People are generally forgiving because they know, like and trust you (for now), but they do start to wonder. If it happens again, the wonder turns into questions and those questions eventually become the reason you lose their like and trust.
Get-It-Together Lessons for the Disorganized
You (and your company) need to get-it-together NOW because even if it hasn’t cost you a dime, which is very unlikely, it will eventually cost you the ability to grow. Disorganized leaders cannot build and leverage an organization just as disorganized business models cannot scale.
Be On-Time…ALWAYS – Give yourself the extra time you need to get things done by creating a deadline buffer. For example, leave 10 minutes early to get to meetings early. Build buffer into timelines to give your people time to handle hiccups.
Find Simple Systems – Create simple systems to handle paper flow – emails, voicemails, proposals, price quotes, invoices, sales follow-up, or whatever paper trails are required to keep your business operational. Streamline and simplify them!
Delegate, Don’t Duplicate – Hand off responsibilities and roles, not tasks and to-do’s. Put your people in charge of every aspect, from decision-making to doing. Delegating partial projects and task lists only results in errors and duplication.
File It and Find It – Create filing systems for email, client files, accounts payables and receivables, expense reports and business documentation. Use consistent formats, keyword tags and naming conventions so you can easily search and find what you are looking for.
Build Accountability – Stay focused and motivated by creating external accountability. Pick your worst habits, your company’s biggest failing, and make it a priority not to backslide.
Remember, what you do as a leader (or in the case of our solopreneur readers, as a company of one) matters. It matters to your clients, it matters to your partners, it matters to your people. Your organization (or lack thereof) sets a critical tone for the success of your business!