Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Problem with Balance

Talk to a doctor and he/she will tell you that one thing we all dislike--pain--is actually a good thing. Pain is our body's warning system that something needs to be attended to. Without it, we'd be in big trouble. That's why pain medications can be damaging--they diminish or mask our body's warning system.

In our businesses we strive for balance in workloads. If you have a ten person department and you have 60 hours of work for them that day, the temptation is to give each person approximately six hours of work. But is that smart?

Say that eight of those people are in demand and ideally would be the best people to do that 60 hours of work. Say that the other two people are not in demand and in reality have little to nothing to do.

Wouldn't it be better to learn why those two people were not in demand? Wouldn't it be best to put the best people on the projects that they're best suited (and in demand) for? I think so.

I've been guilty of trying to balance out the workload, but that's too much like pain medication--it masks the symptom: we have a couple of people that are not busy.

If we get off the medication--balance--and face the situation, we may find out why and do something about it. The two people that are not busy may be great performers, but their speciality is not needed at the moment (not their fault) or it could be that one or both of them are difficult to work with or simply don't perform as well as the others in the department (definitely something they have a hand in).

I'm off the "business pain meds" (balance), feeling the pain and doing something about it.

Barry LaBov
CEO, LaBov & Beyond

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