Saturday, August 10, 2013

Your signature matters

A section from a recent post at JO Rules caught my eye:

How much time do your guys spend waiting around for your signature? How much time do they spend in training that has no value? How much time do they spend waiting around just in case they’re needed later?

My second week as a department head, I was given E4 EVALs to review...all 88 of them (if you think you have an EVAL problem in a division, I think I have you beat). I ended up taking them home, and the next morning I had written all of my corrections and sent them back for revision. Two days later, I signed them all.

Your inbox will get stuffed with a variety of things: special request chits, EVALs, maintenance, etc.  It's sad to say, but it seems many people almost get a kick out of making people wait for their signature. While your signature as a Division Officer is important, the piece that people forget is that by the time something comes to you, it's already hit one or two rounds of review at that time. You taking forever to sign something only serves to piss people off.

You should empty your inbox at the end of every day. Although you may occasionally break this rule, you're better off emptying the inbox than allowing it to pile up. There are a couple of ways to tackle this:

1. Sign the easy stuff. When you sift through your box, sign the paperwork that is routine and that you can quickly verify is correct. Seems easy enough, but how often does exactly the opposite happen: easy stuff sits to the end while we focus on the hard problems. Taking care of the easy things gets your sailors quickly back to work and not waiting around on your decision.

2. Make changes all at once. If the EVALs coming to you suck, take the time and document your changes right there. Take the hour it may take you to write down what you want, review the instruction, and verify your paperwork is in compliance. If you try to skim in 10 minutes what should take an hour, be prepared for your CO to haul you into a room and waste an additional 30 minutes chewing your butt, on top of sending you back to do it correctly in the first place.

3. Make one round of changes. I had an engineer that changes our SUBS message 18 times. I started stapling the changes together because I wanted him to see just how ridiculous it was...and I nearly broke our stapler. Make your changes, and unless your sailors don't change what you ask, sign it and move on.

Manager Tools recommends you empty your email inbox each day, and only check email three times a day to avoid wasting time. Not only do you tend to become more efficient, you also forget less items and keep people in general happier. It's hard (I tend to get 60 emails a day), but it is doable.

Nothing is more frustrating than a road block for no reason. Don't be "that guy." Be the enabler that everyone turns to for mission accomplishment.