“Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it. Autograph yours with excellence.” Author Unknown
This has long been one of my favorite quotes. I’ve periodically had it hung in my work spaces over the years.
While we all understand that mistakes can happen and that we are all human, it should not be accepted as the ‘norm’ within an organization. Accuracy is important in all positions and SOA encourages a culture of excellence. Here are a few techniques we use to continually improve our process that might also help you:
- TACKLE MISTAKES HEAD-ON: When something goes wrong address it immediately, figure out why it happened, and determine a process or procedure that will prevent it from happening again. Most of SOA’s projects conclude with a “lessons learned” session with the team. We discuss what went well and what was challenging. This is a great opportunity to educate staff and brainstorm solutions to avoid repeating similar problems in the future.
- PLAN TIME FOR SUCCESS: Some of us are ‘morning’ people, others do our best work while burning the midnight oil. We all experience times throughout the day that we are at our peak performance. Organize your list of tasks so that the level of complexity/concentration matches your ability to do so whenever possible.
- MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE: It takes less time to fix errors before documents have been submitted. SOA projects are always reviewed by a firm principal to minimize the potential for errors. Even small or simple projects benefit from an outside, experienced perspective. To ensure accuracy in billing and payroll, SOA also has a review process for timesheets.
- DON’T RELY ON SPELL CHECK ALONE: As business manager, I read over the majority of proposals our project managers write. Of course, I’m looking for much more than spelling errors; I’m verifying we are clearly communicating the scope and deliverables we propose. For any complex communication I generally finish it the day before it is due, then re-read it with fresh eyes the next day before I send it out.
- DEVELOP A CHECKLIST OR TEMPLATE: SOA has templates for lots of tasks: setting up a new Revit file, a project organization folder, a project marketing page, cost estimates, project management, task list within projects, etc. Having these already set up saves time and greatly reduces the likelihood of forgetting a piece of information or a critical step in the process. In the accounting world, we say something done consistently wrong is better than something done inconsistently. Why? Because it is easier to find and fix an error if it was done consistently.
Accuracy is good for our efficiency as a business, but more importantly, it is essential for earning and maintaining the trust of our clients who rely on our commitment to excellence. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”