For many businesses, this next month is the busiest time of the year. There is plenty of opportunity, activity and stress.
There also is opportunity to make positive change – not this season, but change throughout next year in order to take advantage of the next seasonal opportunities, activity and to reduce stress, long hours and angst.
I know that is a great idea in theory, but how can you, in the midst of a critical season, manage to work on improvement for the next season?
The easiest way is to write notes to yourself when in the “heat of battle.” Whenever you find a problem that needs to be overcome, instead of committing your brainstorms to memory (good luck with that), jot down a short note using a memory reactivation tool – smartphone, computer file or a little notebook and pencil.
Don’t bother writing out much more than a short description of the issue because you are too busy now, the phone will ring or someone will need help. So just write down enough to help remember the situation later when it is a quieter time.
After the holiday schedule some time for a “remember and transform” session. Go through your notes. Prioritize them; those that have the largest potential gain for the least amount of effort should be highest on your list.
When you read each note and remember the issue, look at it with a naive eye and as few preconceptions as possible. Start your transformative thoughts with a clean sheet of paper and a statement like, “Wouldn’t it be great if…” which will help you apply new thoughts to old problems to create ways of overcoming these challenges.
Some of the problems you find will require rethinking processes that will have to be redesigned, tested and documented. Others will require better, clearer communications and training. Document everything. Describe as clearly as possible the desired outcomes and work backwards to develop ways you will be able to take advantage of greater opportunities and be more productive next busy season with less stress and fewer errors.