Where did 2014 go?

If you’re like me, you made a list of resolutions, at the end of last year, that you fully intended to stick with throughout 2015.

It’s 35 days into the new year and I’m sorry to say that I’ve personally already fallen off “the resolution wagon.” A few have gone by the wayside, but one very important resolution remains — “Get more organized.” This applies not only to my personal life, but also to my work life. You may have a very similar resolution for your agency. So, where to begin?

First and foremost, ask yourself, “what is the most disorganized aspect of this agency?” If you answered, “workflow,” it’s time to take a closer look at the processes you have in place and, more importantly, what’s not working. Determining where inefficiencies lie will better enable you to get things back on track in 2015. The most common issues I hear about revolve around haphazard time entry, no one knowing where the job is and consistently going over budget.

Next, look at the project management system you’re currently using (if it’s pen and paper, you’re not alone). Could it be used more efficiently? If it’s simply not a good fit for your agency’s current needs, consider moving to another system. Hanging onto your existing system, “because you’ve used it for years” isn’t a good excuse. Do your research — What systems are currently available? What features do they offer? I recommend compiling an Excel sheet; here’s an example. Once you’ve filled in the sheet, place it alongside your “list of existing inefficiencies” and determine which system is the best match.

Lastly, here comes the hard part – actually changing systems.

Don’t expect to flip a switch and for everything to be perfect. It’s going to take time to implement a new system and processes. The most important thing you can do is to get buy-in from all employees on your team, especially top-level management. It’s also critical that you build knowledge of and comfort with the new system; employee-by-employee, if necessary. Empower your employees by showing them how the new system works and how it will, in turn, make their jobs easier.

If you follow these three recommendations, you’re going to be well on your way to a much more organized 2015!

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