Over three decades in the workplace, I observe 3 basic types of work in the day…
- Reactive (looking backwards)
- Routine (looking present)
- Research (looking forwards)
Every organization has its own balance. NASA should be ‘research’ heavy, while your local fire department is likely to be ‘reactive’ heavy. But I think most businesses follow the 70-20-10 rule…
- 70% Routine – well conceived and implemented ‘business as usual’ planned work and established processes.
- 20% Research – proactive initiative, sharpening the axe, and exposing oneself to upside.
- 10% Reactive – sharp, effective responses to the inevitable glitches in place.
A common sign of a dysfunctional business is one overly reactive (for extended period of times). If more than 10% of work is focused in Reactive mode, then something is broken. Probably a “stitch in time” missed that is now causing a 9-fold impact. Another common imbalance for start-ups is making the leap from a “research” heavy mode to a routine mode.