Operational Management: in all Spheres of our Life

Have you ever had to do a thousand tasks at the same time, not knowing where to start and feeling that time is moving too fast? Several tasks to accomplish at work, trainings to follow at the same time, household chores to do without forgetting the stress, fatigue and lack of energy that come into play. How can you organize in order to manage your time and priorities? 

Often there are too many tasks and projects to do with the time and resources available. The pressure to perform in a short period of time and the desire to achieve bold goals amplify our time management issues. What if we had done things differently, that we had better establish our list of priorities and that we had not spent three hours on a task that was not so important in the end? 

Several principles of operational management are used in our daily lives. Just like businesses, we also try to maximize our time, minimize our travel, avoid waste and manage our priorities. We live in a society focused on performance and competition. To succeed, we must not only know how to be effective, but above all, think about our “life strategy”. We must therefore determine what is important for us, what we need to periodize and what we must give up. This is how business managers handle to perform, surpass the competition, coordinate their human, material and financial resources as well as possible, thus making their investments profitable. 

What is important? 

Of course, there are several tips for better time management such as setting priorities, checklists, planning and preparation. Despite this, there remains a major problem that most of the workers face: a discrepancy between the watch and the compass! Has it ever happened to you to feel that you are effective and that despite that, you feel that you are not doing what is important? Have you ever encountered any discomfort, dilemma or guilt for not doing something? Indeed, many managers are too preoccupied to climb to success without asking themselves if what they are doing is essential. 

An essential reading for your organization 

If you recognize yourself through this description, you should read the book Priorities to Priorities by author Stephen R. Covey. Much more than a time management book, it offers you an in-depth analysis of your habits and your real motivations. It will be essential in all spheres of your life. As a result of this reading, your perception of time will be transformed to allow you to put your energy in the right place and better manage all your priorities. 

Deux sources : 

Priorités aux priorités de Stephen R. Covey  

Gestion du temps et des priorités — 3 révélations qui m’ont transformé — Mathieu Laferrière [1] 

[1] https://mathieulaferriere.com/gestion-du-temps-et-des-priorites-revelations/ 

Are you a Firefighter Manager?

Daily problems

Who did not think, one day, getting up in the morning: “What will fall on my head at work today?”

We can’t deny it, everyone has thought about it.

At this point, we think of the following:

  • New orders;
  • Stops of the machines;
  • Late orders;
  • Non-compliant products;
  • Shortage of components;
  • Endless meetings to follow the evolution of emergency plans to solve the problem of the day.

However, a context of overexposure to these kinds of problems generally puts us in a state that will later be referred to as the “firefighting mode”; mode whose name already implies that we are constantly trying to stop problems, sometimes more or less unexpected, but always to solve in the fastest possible time.

Management in “firefighter” mode

Nowadays, it is commonplace in many companies to work in a state of emergency. It has become “normal” for managers to spend their time extinguishing fires that appear almost everywhere.

Thus, these managers, who must plan and manage the business so that it can develop, spend their time in firefighting mode; situation that obviously does not give them the opportunity to plan and control the system under their responsibility. As a consequence of this situation, while the manager is killing himself to put out the fires of today, the fires of tomorrow are being formed. The manager is caught in a vicious circle and the “911” mode drags on.

This point is crucial in a business. When the abnormal situation becomes the norm, we end up accepting it as “the normal situation”, daily and recurring problems are accepted as “normal problems”. We accept our mistakes, the lack of planning and the resulting costs as logical and correct.

So, we accept that our managers work, permanently in the daily, in “emergency” mode. All planning, improvement and development efforts become secondary. The priority is to get through today’s trap; indirectly we agree to work in survival mode (sometimes panic). It is certain that when the situation is exposed to cold, we have no other option than to react to the best of our abilities and to submit to the situation, which, in turn, brakes enormously the long-term development. term.

In fact, it is this passive acceptance above that limits us in our long-term vision. So, because our managers are forced to react to problems that, when they occur, degrade productivity, they must intervene in order to try to put it back to what it was before. Thus, we find ourselves caught in a dynamic that forces us to have to move back to advance in terms of productivity, and this, whatever the industry.

Be proactive

The professional reality is sometimes stuck to the image projected above. How to make these goals born of negative reactivity into proactive goals?

First, it would be useful to use the information surrounding the problems that occurred as a database and then extract a proactive goal.

In short, it is a question of diagnosing “to do” tasks and performing the tasks listed during the week without getting caught in the spiral of the emergency.

Are you a Proactive Manager?

At first sight, it seems fair to say that any manager worthy of the name knows that the unforeseen and the changes are inevitable in a modern company. Thus, to follow our last publication, we will attack the alternative to the negative reaction of which we have previously treated. So, let’s see how to get into this other dynamic to face our challenges: the pro action. 

Proactive management 

A proactive company copes with the unexpected by calling on all its strengths to solve the problems at the base, in order to return as quickly as possible to the normal controlled situation. 

With proactive management, the company is better equipped to see the changes coming and plan to deal with them. This organization can minimize impacts by defining: 

  • The most affected processes;
  • potential risks;
  • Action plans;
  • Alternatives.

The shift from responsive management to proactive management 

The goal is to put in place a robust system of absolute efficiency. 

Such a system will enable managers to invest in continuous improvement, evaluate risks, plan actions, control and measure them. In this way, it is possible to minimize “emergencies” due to unforeseen circumstances. 

Every business is different; each has its own context, its parameters and its objectives. For this reason, there is no miracle recipe. You cannot copy and paste solutions from one company to another: the result could be worse than the problem. 

The solution must be personalized, therefore, adapted to the reality of the company in question, hence the importance of using a structured and proven methodology for analyzing and solving problems. 

If you recognize yourself in the image of the firefighter manager, do not wait! Put all your efforts to revive the situation as soon as possible, research the root causes of the problems, define the optimal solutions and implement them. 

How to identify and isolate the situations leading to the “firefighter mode”? 

As stated earlier, it is impossible to standardize a final solution and thus solve all its problems; this is where the manager’s personal skills come into play. However, it is possible to agree on the fact that one must first identify the tasks that cause the activation of the “firefighting mode”, then isolate them in order to reduce their effect. 

Remember that there is no system that can withstand a permanent state of stress and urgency. 

It would be possible to further deepen this article with our specific knowledge, experience and techniques, but that is not the goal. If you have specific questions, send them to us; our consultants will call you to enlighten you. 

Also, be aware that your suggestions for articles are always welcome.