Wednesday, May 11, 2011

10 Ways to Focus with a Whiteboard

Blackboards were the communication tool my teachers used in my elementary school. They could have been black, or green, or even brown, but we used chalk to write on them.

Then came the fabled whiteboard. We have them in our conference rooms and I have a small one in my office.

Besides doodling, they do have another purpose. Check out this guest post:

10 Things to Write on Your Whiteboard

Recently I had visited a client who was struggling with his productivity. His practice was running smoothly but at times would occasionally slow up, for no apparent reason. The first thing I questioned was the methods he was putting into his workday. Quickly, I discovered everything seemed to be in ordered. So what is the problem? Can a 2:30 feeling last all week?

Discussing this, I found that bringing yourself back to basics could help out in a large way. Pretend that your business is a new venture again, and remember the excitement you felt with each new goal met. An often underrated and overlooked approach is “The Whiteboard.” Here is a list of ten motivational strategies to utilizing your whiteboard.

1 Divide your whiteboard in half, one side long-term and one side short-term goals.

  • These two halves should coincide with each other. As progress is made short term, let it translate at some point onto your long-term side. This obviously depends on what kind of turnover ratios you’re working with.

2 Provide action steps.

  • Action steps are key to understanding the task at hand. It is crucial when completing action steps to cross them out. At the same time it is crucial not to erase them until the ultimate goal is accomplished. Seeing progress, or the “light and the end of the tunnel,” can go a long way as a motivational tool.

3 Create a target number

  • This is the simplest, yet maybe the most important thing you can do. Your target number can be any number, for instance a sales goal, or even a spending limit, and it is important to update this number daily accordingly.

4 Upcoming events.

  • This is a great tool to keep a keen mind on what needs to be done. Looking ahead helps to keep you from getting behind, and also provides better communication with clients or associates. When everyone is on the same page, it’s easier to stay on task.

5 Make note of successful sales.

  • Highlighting a good thing can motivate employees to be at their best and can turn selling or accomplishments into an ongoing competition. I find that it is best to use the color green or blue when making these notes, and provide the name of the successful employee. Make sure these do not stay up to too long to keep the employees wanting more.

6 Make note of a deficit or a complication.

  • Highlighting a problem, or a goal that was not completely met can prove to be quite motivational as well. This should be made note of in red ink to relay the message that the issue needs to be taken care of. DO NOT include employee names and their mishaps. Doing so will only create turmoil and stress. Instead offer the opportunity to let it be known who was the one to correct the problem. These issues should remain on the board until the problem is fixed.

7 Prioritize your clients.

  • Every one of your clients should be a priority, but lets face it, some are simply worth more to the business than others. Make sure your top clients are taken care of first.

8 Prioritize your debt.

  • This is true with your accounts payable as well. Take care of the debts you absolutely need to pay first and don’t ever forget your payroll. Your employees will like to know that they are a priority. Also keep in mind some clients may offer cash back or a discount for payment within an agreed period of time.

9 List of your competitors that are outperforming you.

  • Let this be a big part of your whiteboard. Competing with rivals is always invigorating, and can lead to a boost in morale amongst your colleagues.

10 Draw a Dinosaur

  • Dinosaur, picture, joke of the day, employee’s birthday, or anything else that might draw a smile in the workplace. Little things like that can shrug of some of the stress the week may provide.

Now obviously you won’t be able to fit everything at once, but every whiteboard and business is different. Try out some of the ideas, and see what works best for you.

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