Many businesses are having to do more with less currently, especially as they struggle to find employees.
Technology can help alleviate some of the burdens they may be experiencing.
Before you can find specific technology solutions that will be well-suited to your business, you need to know where you’ll get the most value. This relies on identifying and then eliminating your low-value tasks, instead focusing on high-value jobs.
For example, maybe you’re considering an AP automation solution, so within that larger goal, look at those places where you can most easily streamline your workflows, freeing up your financial team to put their attention elsewhere.
In general, the following are some of the things you should know to cut low-value tasks out of your life and business and prioritize the high-value ones.
Defining High- vs. Low-Value Tasks
Any successful business can drive sales and competitiveness through high-value work. High-value work will bring the most valuable services and products to the market and help you increase your profitability.
A primary, ongoing goal should consistently be identifying tasks that will give you the most revenue while reducing busywork that’s taking money, time and energy away from the activities that drive the most returns on investment.
You may not be entirely sure how to define a high- versus low-value task, so the following are some tips to help:
- Talk to your team. Get a feel for what they find monotonous and where they believe their attention would be better spent. For example, there might be elements of marketing you can automate so that employees can focus more on interpersonal relationships with clients to boost loyalty.
- Be honest about things that aren’t essential. We tend to get stuck in a certain way of doing things that can make it tough to look outside of that. You need to do an honest assessment about the work that you and your team are doing that you simply don’t need to be.
- Start to use analytics to measure activities based on their impact. If you’re not able to measure impact based on relevant metrics, it will be challenging to be more strategic in how you approach work.
- We’ve touched on this, but you should, if you follow the steps above, then be in a good place to assess what you can automate.
Create a Plan of Action
The steps above are more about performing an audit to see where changes need to be made, but then from there, you can start to take action.
You’re going to want to work on prioritizing tasks for yourself and your team in a way that makes the most sense for growth.
As the organizational leader, you’re also going to have to make sure you’re doing what you need to be in terms of delegation.
Your plan of action should rely on matching the right people with the right tasks.
Shift Your Culture
When you’re moving away from low-value, and toward high-value, you want to also make sure that your mindset is shifting too. You want a culture where performance management and achieving goals are prioritized. You want employees who know that it’s about the value they can add, rather than how many hours they spend at work.
Your culture needs to provide recognition in all forms for working smarter and not harder.
Another way you can change your culture that’s going to be beneficial here is teaching employees to be smart about saying yes. It’s ingrained in many of us to say yes to everything, regardless of whether or not the opportunity will add value.
It’s okay to say no when the situation calls for it.
You want your employees to know that what you find most important is that they’re working in a way that optimizes everything they do. You don’t want them draining their energy otherwise.
That’s going to rely on you making a lot of changes in how you manage your team. For example, stop trying to monopolize your employees’ time with unnecessary meetings and conversations. You don’t always need to check in. Let your employees have autonomy and find their own way of doing things without you micromanaging.
The more you can move into a space of high value and out of a space of low value, the more agile and efficient your business is going to be overall, and the more equipped you’ll be to weather future storms.