What to do about it?
Like most business problems lack of planning is root cause. There is far too much reaction rather than proaction. (I needed the word) To be proactive involves a little planning, looking ahead to see when and where problems are going to arise and trying to head them off before the need arises to crash into someone’s office with the current problem. You know that but how can you get others to respect your time by doing their part better?
- Set specific times for dealing with problems. ”I am available from 9:00 – 10:30 and 3:30 – 4:30 to answer questions or discuss issues.“
- Use email. It sounds odd to email someone who is just down the hall but it sure is less intrusive. Be sure to answer email from within the organization promptly! This really works but it needs to be a supported policy.
- Make a rule: No grabbing people outside of their office with ”one little question“. It’s rude, make the point that it’s rude and needs to stop.
- The boss has to play by the same rules.
- Have more meetings. Most meetings are a waste of time because they not well structured and they last too long. A daily 30 minute (use a timer) meeting can free up hours of collective wasted time for better use.
- Change your notion about what a meeting is. Okay, we’re going to have a 30 minute meeting every day—but I just have a question and don’t want to sit here for a half hour listening to other people’s problems. Then let’s all just meet at the same place for 30 minutes. Bring the notes, invoices, broken items, ideas, problems and complaints to the room and talk with the person you need. Group around issues as necessary. It’s a war room! It can be fun to see how much can be accomplished in that short time. Forget about the conference table and the one at a time talking meeting. Yawn. Just get everybody in the room and let them go at it. Equip the gathering room with tools of discussion. Calculators, white boards, notepads, pencils, pens, sketch pads, post-it notes, marker pens, highlighters—all the toys of creativity in the business world. Pick a name for your daily meeting that suites your organization. The Huddle. The Kitchen Crew—anything but daily meeting!