In the world of contract security, we have all experienced those days when we look at the clock and wonder where the day has gone. We feel particularly frustrated because we worked 10 or 12 hours and don’t feel like we accomplished much. This is truly a dilemma for busy contract security company owners and senior managers. The problem stems from the reality that, as owners and managers, we have our attention continually diverted by clients, staff, employees, financial and regulatory issues that all businesses, small or large face on a daily basis. Our failure to stay organized during these days can result in loss of productivity both personally and for the business.
So, how does one stay focused during the course of a day when your attention is so rapidly pulled in different directions? In the fast-paced business of private security, the key to maintaining focus is self discipline. Discipline as it relates to the way you approach your day, what you hope to accomplish and what or who you let interrupt you on a regular basis. T he most successful business executives are those who are the best organized. Organization is far more than a “to do list” of daily goals; it is the entire attitude in which you approach your day ultimately, what you accomplish. Here are a few tips to approach your day and stay organized and focused:
• Develop a “morning attitude” from the minute you awake. While preparing for the day ahead, review in your mind what you hope to accomplish that day.
• Have a daily “priority list” of items you want to accomplish that day. Tackle the most difficult or unpleasant tasks first, getting them out of the way while you’re the most energetic. Most people become less productive as the wear and tear of the day bears down on them.
• Schedule your own personal quiet time to make necessary calls and/or work on projects that require your undivided attention. Approximately 30 minutes a day of uninterrupted quiet time can eliminate a couple of hours from your day. Close your door and advise staff members not to call or walk into your office for the next half hour unless it involves “blood or fire.” They get the picture pretty quickly! Trust that your staff can live without you for a short period of time each day. Delegate!
• Empower your employees to make routine decisions. While coaching many executives, we discovered that one of the single biggest time wasters is feeling compelled to make or approve every decision in the company. If you don’t have subordinates that can make routine decisions, you need to hire more competent employees or become a better teacher and leader.
• Concentrate on the aspects of your business that control your bottom line, without wasting time. Instead of a day filled with meetings with each department head or committees that all too often turn into long, drawn-out conversations having little to do with the business, require them to submit a report. As an example, your security operations manager would submit a report to you by e-mail, no later than 9:00 a.m. each day outlining overtime from the day before, pending client or employee issues, overtime, training and/or other aspects of your business that contribute to the growth or decline of the company. Eliminating those department head and committee meetings frees up valuable time for your personal attention to matters that require your special consideration.
With a simple mindset change, you can see how you and your staff can be more productive as a contract security service organization, which will lead to less stress, better communication among staff and ultimately a more financially healthy business. Don’t procrastinate — make those changes now!