Monday, December 05, 2020

Hurry Up And Wait

Do you need to save time and money? Do you want to cut costs and increase productivity? Would you like to know how to do this with no budget cuts, no lay-offs, no travel restrictions, no forced savings? Cut out waiting time.

Even in our frantic, rushed and frenetic organizations, people spend an inordinate amount of time simply waiting.

• Waiting for information from others.
• Waiting for the paperwork.
• Waiting for someone to make a decision.
• Waiting for permission.
• Waiting for agreement.
• Waiting for certainty.

Bosses wait for their people to “get it” and start doing what they want. Wouldn’t it be quicker and easier to begin a conversation and find the real cause of the problem? Team members wait for others to take the lead (why not you?). People wait to see what the boss will say or do (why not ask?) Those with urgent needs are told to wait until the new budget (why let your accounting package run the business?). Everyone waits to see what will happen next (why not make something happen now?).

When times are uncertain, or when petty tyrants take charge, waiting increases dramatically. If you’re not sure, or fear the results of getting it wrong, what do you do? You wait. And you make others wait. Maybe even customers, who may decide they won’t wait — and take their business elsewhere.

How much time is wasted around you by people waiting? How much could you save if you instituted these changes?

• People were allowed to make their own decisions.
• Unnecessary asking for permission was removed.
• Everyone was clear about what to do — and knew they would be trusted to do it.
• Paperwork was minimized and information made available to all.

Waiting time is nearly always wasted time. If waiting is inevitable, at least encourage people to use it productively by reading, thinking or just noodling around with a creative idea. And put yourself in the forefront of the “eradicate waiting” movement. If you hound people to do it yesterday, then keep them waiting on something you should have done, how do you think they’ll feel?

Right. Only with more expletives.

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Andy Wilhem said...


You don't get a lot of comments so I just wanted to give a word of encouragement. Fantastic blog.

I have scaled my RSS feeds down to a SELECT 20 (I'm realistic and I just don't have time for more). Some days I mark every feed as read because I've learned to prioritize and they don't make the cut.

BUT...I always manage to read yours. It's a nice, short, thought-provoking and meditative moment in my day. A lot of gold nuggets that I can take with me and use, or share, with those I work and socialize with.

Keep up the good work, and thanks again!

1:48 AM  
Carmine Coyote said...


Thanks. I do wonder if people find what I write useful. It's encouragement from people like you that keeps me writing.

Adrian Savage

7:46 AM  
Cote' said...

This post is definitly useful. Thanks for taking the time to write it up. I've subscribed to the feed, so I'm hoping to see more good stuff ;&)

9:15 AM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Thanks, Cote'

I'll try to keep jusitifying your interest.

6:55 PM  

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