Stop Feeding The Rabbits

Last night I was packing for a few days in West Palm Beach, Florida.

I’m here for an annual conference I’ve attended for the past five years. As I went through my packing checklist, I noticed I was missing my sunglasses. This resulted in a house-wide search for my sunglasses. I searched everywhere, and the search continued this morning.

I loved those glasses, but I think they’re gone.

While on the flight, I found a store about 30 minutes away from my hotel, which had my exact glasses in stock. 

Using a site called TaskRabbit, I was able to hire someone to drive to the store, buy my glasses, and deliver them to me in West Palm. 

I got to the hotel at 12:30, and the glasses were in my hand by 1 PM – just in time to hit the beach.

The whole thing took me about five minutes and cost me far less in time, energy, and money than it would have to get to the store, buy my glasses and get back to the hotel.

I was shocked and amazed by the service, but even more, shocked when I saw my invoice. It was $14! Even with a 100% tip, this was still a total bargain. It saved me an hour that I’d have otherwise spent doing this single errand. Given the value I place on my hours, it’d have been a bargain at 10X the cost.

That sounds crazy, of course… Would I have been happy to have spent $140 to save an hour of time?  

Absolutely! And if you’re reading this, it’s almost a certainty that your time is worth as much or more.  

We’ve all got a finite collection of hours. We spend them with family, with friends, with work, with clients, or in relaxing and recharging. 

If you make $500,000/year, your salaried rate is ~$250/hour. Your company is valuing your time at that rate – it would be crazy of you to value your time lower!

So here’s a mystery – Many companies I work with ask their people to do $10 an hour work instead of focusing all of their time on thousand dollars an hour of work. Why is that?

Again, it comes back to the idea of the process I’ve been hammering home over and over again.

I realized very quickly driving to the store to buy my glasses wasn’t the most efficient and valuable use of my time. 

In your company, having your best salespeople spend 2 hours/week filling out useless paperwork is a waste of their time (note that I’m talking here about things like ensuring their expense reports meet your internal standard, NOT in providing that their sales notes are entered into the CRM properly).

Without a process, it’s easy to do the low-value work.

Without a sales process, it’s easy for your sales goals to be “sell more” or “beat last year’s numbers.”

Without a retention process, it’s easy for clients to fall through the cracks, and to have your people wasting time on pushing an NPS survey instead of identifying & creating personal connections with your highest valued clients.

When you have processes that are measurable and actively managed, you can ensure your people are focused on the highest priority, highest value work.

The point here is that creating a process requires senior management to enshrine what "high-value work" means, and holding your people accountable to that. Have you done that?

Your Challenge For This Week:

What is the highest value work you need your people doing in the following areas? Write them down.

  1. Sales
  2. Customer Experience
  3. Customer Service
  4. Customer Retention/Loyalty/Engagement

What percentage of your people’s time was focused on the HIGHEST VALUE work you identified in the first question?

How do you know you’re not just feeding the rabbits?