Creating Efficiencies in the Workplace: Focusing on the First Step (Part II)

In my last blog post, The Ultimate Guide to Creating Efficiencies, I talked about steps every organization can take today to begin creating better systems. This topic is near and dear to my heart, and I had too much to say for just one blog post (translation: Marketing told me it was too wordy).

If you missed it, I highly recommend reviewing my previous blog post first, so you’ll have a solid foundation to understand why an intentional focus on the first step is so important.

Why focus only on the first step?

Consider this example that a manager once shared with me. You need to mail an invitation to one hundred people. You have 100 copies of the letter, 100 envelopes, 100 address labels, and 100 stamps. How do you go about doing the work? My answer was “fold all the letters, stuff all the envelopes, attach all the labels, and then attach all the stamps – you’re more efficient when you focus on one task at a time.”

His reply? “What happens when you go to stuff the first envelope and realize the letter does not fit the way you folded them … all 100 of them? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to take one letter all the way through the process, to make sure it works as expected, and then you can do the other 99 however you’d like?”

As you start taking those first steps in your efficiency story, remember:

  • • There is no efficiency without effectiveness – going fast but not achieving the desired results means a lot of bad results, quickly.
  • • Don’t trade resiliency for efficiency – prevent your organization from becoming vulnerable to breakdown due to PTO, illness, or someone moving on.
  • • Find ways to balance your efforts between quick wins on lower-value items and longer-term work on high-value items.
  • • Always come back to WHAT and WHY:
    • º WHAT are we trying to achieve
    • º WHAT are our desired effects/outcomes
    • º WHY focus on this area rather than something else
    • º WHY do we do it this way
    • º WHY do we think there is a more efficient option – before you jump into HOW

KCare, home of foster care and EHR software, has a long track record of helping our customers improve processes to better care for their vulnerable clients. If there is ever anything we can do to help your team, please don’t hesitate to reach out: (800) 277-0474 or


Mike Alexander

Chief of Staff, KCare


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