No, I’m not advocating that you start keeping tabs on when your employees show up to work or that you start keeping tabs on your co-workers lunch plans …
So, when is it a good idea to keep tabs at work?
- Keep tabs on your competition: track your key competitors stock tickers and read their quarterly earnings reports to stay up to speed on their latest strategies; sign up for their newsletters to be the first to be notified of their new product launches; and sign up for key industry publications to see what press they’re receiving
- Keep tabs on your customers: visit their website frequently to stay current on their aesthetic, logos, and corporate strategies; leverage insights partners like Kantar for insider information on key objectives; and stay connected to key contacts within the organization who can answer more specific questions you may have
- Keep tabs on your remote associates: I know, you’re thinking, “wait, you already said you weren’t advocating that I start keeping tabs on my employees?” Still true. But, if you have remote associates, you need to make an intentional effort to keep tabs on what’s important to them. It’s easy for remote associates to feel disconnected from the group, feel isolated from the day-to-day operations, and miss out on team camaraderie. Avoid this by setting a calendar reminder to check-in on a frequent basis. Treat them just as you would an employee that sits right next door
- Keep tabs on your time: even if you work outside of an industry that has billable hours, your time is just as precious. Keep tabs on where your time is being spent so you can take control of how you intentionally allocate your time. If you don’t manage your time, someone else will manage it for you. I find it helpful to schedule each hour of my day, either meeting with others, or blocking time to complete important tasks. This has two great outcomes: (1) I am intentional about scheduling time to think strategically and (2) by blocking my schedule ahead of time, I avoid calendar takeover by others (bonus: by scheduling specific time blocks, I can avoid over-allocating time to smaller tasks with lower ROI via limiting myself to just the time I scheduled to complete that task)
- Keep tabs on your mistakes: no on likes to make them, but once you have, you definitely don’t want to make the same one again; avoid this by keeping good notes on what happened and what you think you could have done differently to drive a different result; several top leaders also advocate that keeping a weekly reflection journal has helped expedite their careers, so don’t limit your reflection to just your mistakes
With all these tabs, you will need to find an organization tactic that works well for you. Do you like physical paperwork? Are you 100% electronic? Whichever works for you, find a way to keep your insights organized so they are easy to find the next time you need to pull out the tabs!
I personally like to file things based on topic rater than date, as it is far more likely that I’ll search again for that topic and have no clue what date I originally filed it.
Help your fellow business mavens by sharing, in the comments below, what else you keep tabs on at work