I went to a wedding yesterday. Weddings are all about empty spaces and new beginnings. The couple is starting a new life together. They have a new apartment. They have new furniture. They have new towels and new dishes and even new pots and pans. When they first enter the apartment it will be completely void, the rooms will be bare and the closets totally empty.
In the beginning of anything new there is empty space. There are empty closets or unallocated time or a lack of systems to tell us how to do something. We create what fills that space and we grow in the process. But then our space is full and we stop growing. We have our systems and we continue to implement them not even questioning if there is a better way. When our space is full there is no room for growth or improvement.
Somehow in our lives and in our careers we need to find a way to create space. Our ability to innovate, our ability to grow and our entire future is based on how we manage and create space. There are three things you can do immediately to create the space you need to grow and improve.
What can you eliminate?
Look at what you are spending your time on and ask yourself, “What can I stop doing?” Everything you stop doing creates time and space. It is far easier to say “yes” then it is to say “no” and we end up in time being over committed. It feels great when you start saying “no” and eliminate time consuming activities.
Evaluate All Systems and Policies
List all the systems you employ. Most organizations have a sales system, a billing system, customer service procedures, hiring procedures, manufacturing steps and more. Each month take one system or procedure and analyze it from scratch to see if there is a better way based on new ideas, people or technology. Ask yourself, “If we were to design this today how would we do it?” You might be amazed to find out how streamlined, customer focused or more efficient you can be.
Maybe you’re doing some things that are important but could be accomplished by someone else. By delegating to others you are training them to take on additional responsibility and at the same time positioning yourself to take on other growth oriented activities. Always delegate authority with the responsibility so you are not micromanaging and make sure that the resources necessary to do a great job are there.
As you create more space, spend time determining what you can do to deliver more value for your organization and allow you to grow as an individual at the same time.