Doing the right thing outside of your work environment, is not an easy task. To do so highly depends on a high standard moral and belief system. However in business it is fairly simple to do the “right thing”.
Just ask yourself one question:
“Is what I am doing right now, adding any value to our product?”
If you can’t answer this question with a clear “Yes”, than you are NOT doing the right thing. Stop immediately and find something more worthwhile to do.
Don’t get confused by a company’s mission statement, strategy or vision. These all imply that you have already made sure you do the right thing. Look for example at Google’s “Do no evil” mission statement, this implies that employees should do “no evil”, while doing the right thing – it does not necessarily mean you are doing the right thing by not doing evil! This is an important differentiation to make.
Any company is about adding value for their customer in whatever they do. If you don’t add value, the customer has no incentive to buy your product or service. If too many parts of your organization are not contributing value to your product your service will be too expensive. That’s how you lose customers.
Make it a habit to ask yourself at work, “Am I adding value to the final product?” Encourage everyone else to develop the same habit - especially your team members.
Don’t get stuck in “but we have always done it this way” or “this has always worked before” discussions.
If it doesn’t add value, make sure it gets cut. Start with simple things like meetings. Meetings are one of the biggest sources for lost productivity in the workplace today.
Look at your schedule, and think about every single meeting invitation you received for the upcoming week:
How many of those add value to the bottom line of your company?
How many of those could be done with fewer people?
How many could be done in less time?
I am usually able to eliminate 60%-70% of all my meetings if I take a critical look at the topic, the decisions that will be made, the time-slot, and the other attendees that were invited.
This same critical thinking should go into every detail of your daily schedule.
Ensure that every task, every project and every meeting contributes to the bottom line - make sure that you only do the right things!