Finweek English Edition - - OPINION -

Let me share with you one of the most pow­er­ful ways I know to iden­tify those out­dated and dan­ger­ous habits that per­sist in the work­place. Over the next week, make a list of ev­ery task you do on a daily ba­sis, no mat­ter how mun­dane. In fact, the more mun­dane, the bet­ter. Then at the end of the week, sched­ule a meet­ing with your man­ager to ask some tough ques­tions.

For each task on the list, your man­ager must an­swer the ques­tion “Why am I do­ing this task?” When you get the an­swer, you need to act like a kid, and ask why again. And again. And again. Un­til even­tu­ally one of two things can hap­pen. One pos­si­bil­ity is that your man­ager pro­vides a real an­swer that makes sense. In this case, the ques­tion­ing can stop, and you have gained a use­ful un­der­stand­ing of the value you pro­vide in the big­ger con­text. In fact, you can take it a step fur­ther by fol­low­ing up with, “How else can I achieve the same aim, but with a more ef­fi­cient and sen­si­ble process?”

The other pos­si­bil­ity is that your man­ager is un­able to pro­vide you with a sen­si­ble an­swer. You’ l l k now y o u ’ v e reached this point if your man­ager re­sponds with, “Be­cause that’s the way it ’s done around here.” This is an un­ac­cept­able an­swer, and there is only one good re­sponse – stop do­ing the task, be­cause no-one can tell you why Dr Sy­manowitz is an ac­tu­ary and founder of Block­busterIn­no­va­tion.com.

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