3 strategic pivots for a too-busy organization.

I've been hearing a lot from you about busyness and work overwhelm lately. Truth? There are no easy fixes. That said, it isn't hopeless! You can improve your situation by focusing on the strategic pivots that impact your capacity (and sanity) for the long-term. In this video, I outline the 3 most effective levers to address this problem in organizations. Which is most relevant for you and your team? 

Watch the video, or check out the transcript below:

Video Transcript

Hi friends, it's Jenny Philips at jenniferlphillips.com.

I'm here today to talk to you about the challenge of WORK OVERWHELM, by which I mean feeling overwhelmed by the volume of your work, the pace of your work, or (most likely) the combination of the two.

Specifically, I want to talk to you about the problem of work overwhelm in ORGANIZATIONS. I see and I'm sure you have seen loads of articles and think pieces on how to manage this issue for your personal career. (Those are good articles. I encourage you to look for them. I post them from time to time on my social media accounts.)

However, I don't see many people writing about how to manage this issue for an organization.So, doing what you can in your personal workflow doesn't necessarily get at the root problem. And certainly if you're the boss, you should be concerned and take into consideration your entire workforce.

What I see is that there are 3 strategic pivots for influencing this problem in your organization. And that's what I want to talk to you about today, so that, when you spend time, resources, and energy on these issues, you are spending them well. So, three strategic pivots for addressing work overwhelm:


The question here is really quite basic...and fundamental. Do you have the people you need to get the work done? Do you have enough people? Do you have the right head count? And do you have the expertise, the skills, the perspectives, and the experience that you need at the table?

Now this is not to say that I don't support lean organizations; in fact, I'm quite fascinated by them. But, at the end of the day, there is a bottom line, regarding how many people you need to do the work that you have committed to. You need to look very carefully and make sure that you are asking for a reasonable volume of work out of your teams. So, number one is people.


The question here is: Are your processes efficient enough to deliver the volume of work to which you've committed in a reasonable amount of time?

Now, most of the folks that I work with – and I'm guessing you're similar - are going to look at me and say, "Yeah. They're fine."

And, yeah, you're probably right because you're good at what you do. Most of the people that I work with are excellent at their jobs. I am not a remedial coach.

However, if you are in an organization that is growing rapidly, you need to take a step back and really focus on process...because processes don't necessarily scale as quickly as you would like them to for your organization.

So, if you are growing rapidly, or if a lot of people in your organization have been promoted into stretch positions, then you are going to need to give people extra resources around this topic of process. You've got to take a step back and figure out what's going to be most efficient.

Not just in the past what has worked for you, but in the next phase of our business...the next phase of your organization. Take scale into account when you assess the quality of your processes.

Two ways to address processes, to improve them:

  1. One. Look at technology. Know what's available. Do the work, do the due diligence, to understand what might be assessable to you and your team, technology-wise.
  2. The second, which is strategically very important, is to understand, as you break down the process, where do you actually add value to the end-deliverable that you provide to your client or customer? Don't spend your time and don't ask your teams to spend time on steps that may have been important in the past, but, at this point in your operation, don't add value to the end-deliverable. Strategically, that can make an impact, process-wise.

So, two pivots: people and processes.


 (One of my favorite topics!)

What I'm talking about here is if you're looking at this video, thinking, "I've go the people I need. Our processes work; they're ready to scale. But there's still a problem." In that case, you really need to look hard at culture.

What I mean by looking hard at culture is:

One, understand the culture you've got. Don't just assume as the boss that you know the culture and that you are ready to charge ahead. Make sure you go through the process of understanding what the reality is for your workforce.

Number two: Setting the vision. Being very clear about what type of culture is going to work for your organization. In this case I'm talking specifically about strategic thinking, about creativity, about contemplation. Rest! But this is true for whatever culture you are trying to build: Articulate a clear vision.

Once you've done that, you need to implement daily practices and positive rituals that reinforce the culture that you're trying to build. So make it a part of everyone's everyday life.

Finally, you have to manage it. You have to be a great example. You have to hire people who are excited to be a part of this kind of culture and build it with you. And you have to hold people accountable to these cultural values in the performance review process.

So, three pivots:

  1. If you're going to address this issue of work overwhelm, make sure you have the right people. Enough people.
  2. Make sure your processes are as efficient as they can be and that they are scaling at a pace that is necessary for your organization's growth.
  3. And make sure that the culture you are managing and leading is purposeful and in support of these goals.

That's it for today! Good luck to you. This is really a tough, knotty problem for people in organizations to tackle, but I have faith that you can do it.

And, if you focus on these three pivots, you will not be spinning your wheels. You will not be wasting your time. These things really can impact the overall experience of work volume, work pace, and the quality of work life within your organization.

So, good luck to you! It's a noble goal, and you are not alone. Many people are working on this and, if you focus your energy, you can move the needle.

Take care! Have a great day.