Busyness…Its Impact On Your Organization



Worker productivity is higher than it has ever been as companies have tightened their financial belts over the last 18 to 24 months. Individuals have been, and continue to perform their duties as well as the duties of others, as positions have been eliminated and not replaced. From a financial perspective, the good news is that labor cost as a percentage of the organization’s top-line is generally much lower than it has ever been. The bad news is that we may have provided individuals with an excuse for not being immediately responsive internally and externally and not taking timely action based on busyness.

What Busyness May Be Costing Your Organization.

Busyness takes multiple forms within organizations and can result in internal and external turmoil and frustration, erosion of the organization’s competitive edge and a loss of market share.

One form is an utter failure to be responsive to telephone calls, emails and written correspondence due to busyness. Recently, I contacted an individual whose outgoing voicemail message stated that she would be attending a conference for an entire week and would not be responding to telephone messages or emails until she returned. In an age where everyone is wired to the hilt with cell phones, Blackberry’s and laptop computers, I found it amazing that anyone who was away attending a conference would choose not to be responsive for an entire week. I use the word “choose” because it is truly a choice not to be responsive, when in reality, there would have been ample time and opportunity to be responsive, while enjoying the conference. I proceeded to leave the individual a message on a topic of great urgency to her and received a call back one week after she returned from the conference. When the call was finally returned, the reason given for the delayed response was busyness. We always say that rapid responsiveness is a competitive advantage that costs you and your organization nothing. Those organizations that are rapidly responsive to both their internal and external customers/clients find their rapid responsiveness to be recognized, remembered and appropriately rewarded.

Another form of busyness that is invading organizations is the failure to take timely action, which can cost an organization greatly. An organization that we are familiar with recently identified a need to quickly develop and execute a new commission incentive plan for their sales force. The organization was in jeopardy of losing many of their key sales people because they were being recruited away by a competitor with offerings of higher sales commissions. A very thorough and detailed commission plan was developed based specifically on the organization’s needs and desires, making them extremely competitive. As a result of multiple reviews and committee meetings, which resulted in only very minor plan revisions, eight weeks elapsed between the time the plan was finalized and eventually rolled out. The good news for this particular organization was that the plan was very competitive and well received by participants. The bad news was that the lack of forward motion resulted in multiple weeks of delay in which three top performers departed. Delays can be extremely costly as in the above example and there seems to be a willingness by some leaders to accept these delays. Delays based on a personal preference to have one more review or gather additional information must be eliminated. To be competitive, organizations must adopt an “enough is enough” philosophy and commit to getting things out the door. This philosophy is simple, but will pay immediate and sustained dividends to the organization.

Solutions That Cost You And Your Organization Nothing!

Some of the best solutions often cost the organization nothing and are simple to implement. To rid your organization of the busyness that may actually be holding it back from greatness, try implementing some or all of the following:
1. Require that all telephone calls and emails are replied to within 24 hours of receipt, no matter where the individual may be or what the individual may be doing. In our current electronic age, there is no excuse for not being immediately responsive.
2. Eliminate all unnecessary meetings and require that all necessary meetings start and end on time and have an agenda that was circulated to all participants at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. Cancel meetings that are not necessary and only involve key decision makers who can impact the outcome of the meeting. Do not allow individuals to invite multiple layers of support people to attend the meeting. Instead, require that they have the answers themselves rather than diverting the question to someone on their team.
3. Institute one day each week as a “no meeting day,” enabling your management team to manage by “walking around” and engaging the workforce.
4. Foster decisiveness within your team by instituting an “enough is enough” rule that states that one more test, or one more committee meeting that will not provide new information is not allowed. This will rid your organization of “paralysis analysis” while causing it to be much more competitive in the marketplace.
5. Do not allow busyness to be an excuse for not keeping commitments or getting things done. Deal directly with those individuals or departments that are constantly too busy to get things done.
6. Set the example by “doing what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it!”


The U.S. economy is firmly in a turnaround and all indicators are good for financial growth and increased productivity. Now is the time to make sure that you and your leadership team is firmly committed and ready to take their performance and the performance of their team members to the next level.

Please Contact us or call us at 1-480-467-0344 (USA) and we would be pleased to discuss, clarify or expand on any of the above points.

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