What Does Work Smart Mean? Overused?

What Does Work Smart Mean?  Overused?

Absolutely!  Why?  Because many articles written about working smart lump everyone into the same pot!  Not every work culture is the same nor is any job the same.  What working smart means in one work culture would be seen as outrageous in another.

For example, let’s take two managers – one is in insurance and the other is in a hospital in triage. 

What is the purpose of the manager’s role in an insurance company?  To make the company profitable.  Without profits, there are no jobs and there’s no reason for the owner to continue conducting business.  Perhaps the 3 primary ways the manager can address his/her purpose is to:  Assure that staff are properly trained in insurance policies, upselling and connecting with the clients?  Drive traffic to the company’s location?  Assure that the physical office if manned and running appropriately for maximum client service?  

However, if you took that model and applied it to the manager in the triage process in the emergency section of the hospital, it would be totally insane.  They have enough customers!  The goal of triage is not making profits but to help people in distress.  So the main purpose of this manager’s role would be to assure that patients’ distress is attended to as quickly and effectively as possible.  What does that mean?  Perhaps the 3 primary means of meeting that result may include having a cracker jack, no glitch system of triage wherein all basic processes are simple, straight forward and follow appropriately.  It may mean a lot of time spent in the emergency area watching and correcting processes and procedures.  It may also mean continuously talking with nurses and doctors and assistants, janitorial staff and others associated with the triage process to assure that they have the equipment and supplies they need to do the best job possible for the patieints.

Time management, therefore, for each and every person must be “designed” for the particular industry and particular business or organization.  Often, that takes someone from the outside to come in and assess where the time is going and how it could be better utilized.  However, a person can do it for themselves with a few questions:

1.  Why was my business or organization created?  What is it’s primary function?  (sell that “product”, deliver this “service”, etc.)  What is it suppose to deliver?

2.  What is the primary result expected from my role in fulfilling the “raison d’etre” of the company or organization?   Please don’t refer to your job description here because most job descriptions are poorly written and designed today.   Job descriptions are often created to protect rather than clarify.  Good time management builds on clarity. 

3.  How do I manage my time on a daily basis to assure that this primary result is achieved consistently?  What are the top 3 tasks I I should be concentrating on to assure that I meet that result?

Isn’t this simplistic?  Is it?  How complicated does it have to be? 

Good time management depends on knowing exactly the primary result expected from your role.  Once the primary result is clarified, then it’s easy to come up with the 3 most important means of getting that result;  you can design your work and time much more easily and thereby design processes and procedures integrating all the parts in order to “truly assure THE deliverable” – not a humungous list of deliverables which no human could ever deliver just to make the job look more important than it really is – but understanding the primary fundamental result required. 

There’s nothing complicated about any job no matter whether you’re a manager, a CEO, a janitor, a physicist, a truck driver, a chemist, a secretary, a doctor, a salesman, a lawyer or any other job.  People love to think their jobs are complicated for a variety of reasons, none of which have anything to do with the primary result for which their job was designed. 

Working smart is working by design based on something real – a significant result!  One – only one.  Once you know it, your days will be filled with less stress, more clarity, greater positive results and successes!

Lorraine Arams
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