Don’t Be the Bottleneck


It’s hard to do business with people that are disorganized. And the truth is that we have an enormous amount of options in this economy to find alternatives. Everyone is trying to get something done and we rely on others in communications and actions to move along the projects we are pursuing, whether that is with co-workers, partners, vendors or customers.

When a bottleneck breaks the momentum in various ways,

  • Not returning calls
  • Slowness to respond to emails
  • Not fulfilling an order
  • Slow with using technology
  • Always in a crisis of some sort

it affects our delivery, reputation and desire to make customers happy. We live in a world of on-time delivery, apps and instant gratification. Bureaucracy and friction may be tolerable, but that is not the standard we are experiencing on a daily consumer level.

Speed is a differentiator and you can ensure first and foremost that you are fast. You don’t want to be the bottleneck, especially on a team or within projects. It can kill your brand and cash flow.

Here’s a simple focal point to make sure you can increase your value by getting things done: Convert information to actionability quickly.

That’s where most people lose it. They read a bunch of emails but there’s no clarity on a next step. Voicemails are there for listening, but you don’t take the next step on calling back or getting a result.

That moment where you absorb something from your inbox, conversations, or many other inputs, has to funnel to some list. That list has to be accessible and convenient.

Then you have to turn your brain on for a second and think. This is the hardest part. Think about what the next step is. Then use a verb, an imperative, to clarify what the action is so you don’t have to think about it again. You simply have to execute.

You are transforming raw information into actionability. You are making it easy to act. Again, here are the steps:

  1. Read or listen
  2. Think about what you read or heard
  3. Turn that into an action starting with a verb. i.e., “Decide on platform to use and respond.”
  4. Act

Few people do step 3. But that’s the crux of information flowing efficiently into action for yourself if you can practice it. You’ll certainly have that opportunity today with all the inputs that relentlessly bombard you.

By the way, if you are a Gmail user, SHIFT+K can become your friend in this process.

A little upfront focus can give you a lot of peace of mind managing all the inputs. Become an action machine, a person known to get things done. You will have made yourself more valuable to others.

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