Is time wasted in your organization?

This article was originally published on the blog of Headroom, and is also available on Medium and LinkedIn.

I help my customers transform into more adaptive, responsive and self-organizing companies. This is necessary to survive in today’s fast-paced, unpredictable business environment.

But as a small consultancy, the danger of extinction is also imminent. To prevent this, it’s important to work on these three things:

  1. be the most knowledgable in your area
  2. show the world that you have this expertise
  3. do paid work

Slack time

Many consultants forget to make time for learning and publishing, and actually I’ve stepped into this trap a few times myself. Due to the increasing amount of client requests, it’s very easy to get swamped by paid work, with the risk of losing your expert status and becoming irrelevant.

This is why planning slack-time is very important. Slack (not the famous team communication tool) can be defined as:

1. unused capacity
“still some slack in the economy”
2. lacking in activity; not busy
“a slack season for the travel business”

A while back I saw this helpful graphic in a deck called “How to improve your life” (by Henrik Kniberg) that explains the self-enforcing loop that he was aiming for.


Be conscious of how your organization spends its time

In the article, he makes another great point:

“Organizations with slack are faster than organizations where the goal is to keep people busy all the time.”

It is useful for any kind of organization to be a bit more conscious of how time is spent. If it’s spent on unfocused meetings and an overload of e-mails, bureaucratic processes that add no value to the customer and slow hierarchical decision making, then it’s time to rethink your organization’s operating system. It might just prevent you from going extinct.