Does Your Desk Look Like This?

Dave NewsletterDuring my travels, one of the areas I look at is the Service Manager’s desk. Does your desk look like the picture? Are you the type of manager that sits in your office all day?  Hope not! 

Every day more and more information is thrown at you. New mail, reports from different departments, invoices, and more all hit your desk several times a day. You are too busy to deal with it right away, so it just begins to pile up. Your desktop begins to look like a war zone.


The problem here is not that your desk is messy; the problem is that important stuff gets lost. It either gets buried by new material coming in, or it is in the new material, but is not noticed. As a result, you spend too much time on things that are simply urgent rather than those that are important.

Many people see nothing wrong with piles of paper covering the desktop; they quote adages like ‘a cluttered desk is a sign of genius’ and ‘a messy desk is only a sign of a messy desk’.

We all know someone whose desk is that way; you can’t even see the top of the desk, yet when you ask them for something they go right to a pile, go through 2 or 3 piles of paper and pull out what you asked for. Amazing!


What works for you?

Both sides are correct. The issue is not which is correct. The issue is which will make you most effective. There are a few fundamental guidelines that apply to both approaches, but the key is to work in a manner that allows you to be most effective. Almost everyone needs to get rid of some of the clutter on top of their desk, but having no more than a single item on your desk at any one time won’t work for many of us. Are you quarterbacking the service lane in peak times, making sure service advisors are smiling, shaking hands, and menu presentations? Are they following the written policies? I feel this is more important than quarterbacking from your office.

Many Service Managers are working on several projects at the same time (or almost the same time). Creative types feel the need to have inspiration surrounding them. Detail-oriented individuals need volumes of material close at hand. Some people feel the piles of work make them look busy. Others feel a clean desk shows how efficient they are at getting the work done. What is important is to do what works for you. Something as simple as a service writer trying to leave a repair order on your desk when you are busy, don’t let them do it to you. Make the decision with the service advisor and have him or her take the repair order with them. They learn, and the next time they can make their own decision. You have to manage your employees and coach and counsel them so that you have more time to work on issues that are important to the business. Now let’s get going and make a difference today!


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