Losing Mental Weight

February 4, 2013

“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” Donald Rumsfeld.

One of the perks of pitching Steelwool to local businesses and non-profits is that the discussion about workflow naturally stimulates a reflection on the current way of doing work versus the ideal way. Business owners are almost universally challenged to find the time to even think philosophically about how they can improve upon their process for work flow. I always enjoy these philosophical discussions. Technology talk inevitably provokes conversation on employee morale, customer satisfaction and a term we like to use called “mental weight.” It is not hard to quantify the time and cost savings that a good work management system can create. Saving owners and employees steps, eliminating redundancy and capturing sales opportunities in a linear, consistent qualification process will not only lead to greater prospect conversion, client satisfaction and employee relief (they know what is expected of them) but they can be measured. It is harder to quantify the mental weight or stress that owners and employees deal with when there is subjectivity and uncertainty involving work status. This is your mental weight and the unknown unknowns Rumsfeld is talking about.

Our Steelwool clients like the fact that at any point in time, they can easily see where their work resides. They can see what step in their process work is sitting in and who on their team needs to complete a task or tasks to move it forward. Having associated pictures and documents in each work item provides additional relief. It is hard to quantify the value of checking on your projects from your tablet or phone so that you always know where you’re at, who needs help on your team and what you need to do on Monday when you’re back in the office. Good or bad, this transparency provides comfort. Having your stated process personified in an intuitive, customizable workflow also provides a consistent framework from which your people work. If anyone gets hit by the proverbial bus, the work status is not lost and team members and business owners can pick up where they left off on each project they touched. Pretty cool. Focus on landing more business. Spend more time interfacing with your clients.