Amy’s sayings #2

This is a series on how to run a business without micromanaging your staff. These are phrases they should hear in their head when the situation it applies to arises. In the first post of this series, I explained We’ll get fired if a client can’t print, but we won’t keep a client because they can print. That phrase reminds the staff of where our value to our client lays. Now I’m going to explain another favorite phrase of mine, “Don’t make a plan based on the exception.

Our jobs as technicians require us to create and document methods of doing new things all the time. There’s nothing more consistent than change in our line of work. Yet, we also have a need to keep things consistent across clients so we can work efficiently. This means that we’re constantly developing new procedures. We often do this during our bi-weekly training sessions. Too often I heard from my techs, We can’t do that. It won’t work for THIS client and I found myself repeating back to them, That it doesn’t work for one client doesn’t matter. That it will work for almost of our clients is what matters. This eventually coalesced into the key phrase that they all now know, Don’t make a plan based on the exception. In fact, now when they feel the need to suggest a change to a procedure, they start by saying, I know…don’t make a plan based on the exception..but, This is how I know that they’ve internalized the point of this key phrase. Hearing it parroted back to me makes me smile inside.

The human tendency is when looking to create something for a group is to throw out everything that doesn’t work for the entire group. But for operational efficiency having policy and procedures that work for almost everyone has high value. If we can do the same thing repeatedly for 73 of our 75 clients and have documented deviations for the remaining 2 then we’ve obtained an operational efficiency. Operational efficiency translates directly to improved staff utilization percentages and that ends up in higher profits for the company.

Of all of the phrases I use to run my business, this one probably translates most directly to the bottom line.

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