Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Searching for efficiency

One of the most difficult things you find in a startup on such a frantic stage of growth is the amazing amount of things that can eat your time and the amount of rigor and self discipline needed in order to be organize and be able to execute the right things at the right time

I tend to think that except for a small bunch of companies that really find that "special" idea, the rest of startups that succeed differentiate themselves by having the right ideas and an exceptional execution, which is mostly a combination of the management team chemistry and capacity to work as a team and the capacity of their managers to execute

This even gets more tricky when you think that we have a yahoo messanger, skype, 2 mobiles, blackberry and PC with email constantly on, and the amount of time we are able to concentrate without distractions is every day smaller and smaller. Also the option of working from home is usually out of scope as there is a need to work together non stop (or as much as commercial activities let us)

Some small tricks/tips that I/we find useful go from:
  • the classic making mandatory to go through my daily To Do (on paper) and calendar before I switch on the PC. NOTE that this demands sometimes to eliminate tasks or delegate them.
  • especially in the first hour in the morning, I always try to be an hour earlier that everyone else as allows me to be very efficient doing very small things from my To Do list
  • try to minimize the outgoing calls when in the office (and try to use the times you are in car (I have an amazing portable Ericsson Handsfree HBC 100 that doubles as conference call facility for my mobile)
  • going to starbucks on my own when I need to read something (apart from flights when I still think is the best time to do reading). An alternative is to switch off the phone when I stay at the office
  • using the hotel at night (when on the road) to send emails
  • trying to make sure that we book enough time as management team together to have discussions and make decisions (instead of just grabbing people when something comes up). BTW We have found that innovation sessions while having a good meal are extremely efficient (among other things there is almost no device demanding the attention of any of us)
  • Learning how to delegate and using the team to coach people how to do things so they can take ownership from that point on
There is still not enough time but I can guarantee you when we manage to folllow most of these tips it help us being more efficient

1 comment:

  1. Hi CAM,

    nice reading from you! You're really a busy man and I'm sure you are achieving great business results. But tell me, do you have any tips how to keep business & personal lifes balanced?

    Good Luck!


    P.S. Hope we'll see you soon in Prague!