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HOME::Management Tips

Top 7 Tips to Stop the Waste in Your Business

By Leanne Hoagland Smith

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Each day thousands of workers spend 8 hours or more at their respective jobs contribute to the waste much like dripping kitchen or bathroom faucet that wastes drops of a precious resource water every minute of every day until fixed. Yet, the dripping faucet is considered a minor annoyance until the drips become steadier. During this time, thousands of gallons of water are wasted costing the owner probably more money than it took to correct the problem.

During the last 6 years, I have surveyed thousands of employees from small businesses to larger organizations who all believe that their plates are full, but admit to wasting a minimum of 12 minutes each day. For employees who are paid $30,000 not including benefits, this amounts to $14.42 each week for the one lost hour of work or $721.12 annually. If you have a facility with 50 people, the annual cost is at least $35,056. For organizations with at least 1,400 employees, the annual cost rises a minimum of $1,000,000.

  1. Consider that most people don't intentionally come to work to waste your resources. Their performance in many cases is a result of lack of knowledge and skills supported by negative attitudes and habits. These negative attitudes and habits probably contribute much more to their poor performance.

  2. Begin to ask questions about how the organization is communicating its message. If you were to survey 10% of your employees from upper, middle and front line levels and asked them to name the top 3 goals of the organization, would you receive the EXACT SAME ANSWER from each individual. Different responses contribute to people not knowing what they may need to do next and contribute to the ongoing dripping faucet.

  3. Determine if your employees truly understand how to plan and achieve their personal goals. If your employees are achieving their personal goals, the likelihood of them achieving corporate goals has been greatly diminished. Time management is the apex of goal planning and achievement. If individuals don't have goals, then why worry about time?

  4. Train your employees to include interpersonal development along with the job specific skills. If your company promotes from within, the individual is recognized for her or his job specific skills. However, as these individuals moved up through the organization, job specific skills become less while interpersonal skills become greater. Yet, much of the training fails to develop these individuals and the result is that these individuals leave which increases bottom line costs or return to their original position again increasing bottom line costs.

  5. Think about the words that you select when you communicate. For example, ask your employees how they are investing their time instead of spending their time? Frame your questions and statements using positive words that generate powerful mental images. Remember, people hear words, but they think in pictures.

  6. Align your systems, strategies and people to create loyal internal customers that discover those 'moments of truth' leading to external customers. One such example is Southwest Airlines that understands the power of alignment.

  7. Adopt a quality program such as Baldrige, Lean Thinking, Total Quality Management or any Business Improvement Process based upon reducing waste at all levels. Begin with a proven world class organizational survey such as D.I.AL.O.G.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is The Small Business Coach who works with you to connect your passion to your purpose to double your performance. Please visit to learn the Secret of Success.


Article Submitted On: March 15, 2006