What is stopping you getting satisfaction from your job?

by Diana Perry, Chief Product Officer, Bevington Group

We are on an endless treadmill, it seems that we are working harder but achieving less.

Let’s start with the facts -

According to the ABS approximately, 15% of the workforce work 50 hours or more in a week. That is approximately 1.75 million Australians. So if this is you, you are obviously not alone. The ABS goes onto say “Excessive working hours can be detrimental to productivity and to wellbeing through stress and a lack of work/life balance.” From the perspective of the organisation working staff long hours really has no benefit in the long term.

In a recent study completed by Samson and Bevington typically the average person wastes 33.6%[1] of their time fixing problems, firefighting. This often takes them away from the things that deliver value. We have all been there, you go in early to get ahead only to end up with spending your day troubleshooting. You get home late and realise that you feel progress is too slow.

 30.6% Noise

Average person wastes 33.6% of their time fixing problems, firefighting

This troubleshooting has become an accepted part of our jobs; it is the nature of the beast. Or is it?

Let’s give this waste a name and then let me demonstrate how we can do something about it, freeing up capacity and giving you extra time to do what needs to be done.

It is called Interfacing Noise Activity[2]. It is the activity that has you chasing up missing information, redoing other people’s work, fixing errors, and finding out the status of other people’s work. It is not in your job description. The typical company below could be your company.

Organisational Noise

So without identifying your interfacing activity noise no amount of time management will help you reduce the interferences in your working day.

We need to identify this interface activity noise, pin it down, find out what is causing it and fix it to unleash hidden capacity and get onto really delivering value.

Adding Capacity


Identifying and addressing the noise is the first step but strategically we need to decide what is the correct focus of our role. Where could our time be better spent? How can we shift from being reactive to proactive?

Let’s look at this real life example of a Branch Manager who works in our local Branch. They have 43% interface activity Noise.



43% Noise 

Branch Manager’s noise level 43%

It seems that their whole day is spent reacting. They come to work early and finish very late. They are consumed by answering staff questions, handling customer complaints, relieving the tellers when they get busy. They hardly get time to coach their staff proactively (3%) and spend no time on selling. There are not enough hours in the day to get everything done and lunch is always at the desk if at all.


 Current Focus


This Branch Manager decided that she needed to make a change. She decided that answering staff questions all the time was simply interface activity noise so she logged all their questions and conducted short, punchy training sessions on the most common questions. She established Behavioural Change Indicators (BCIs) in the Branch and measured that the questions were reducing. She then shifted her focus to selling and coaching her team to sell. Once again she used BCIs to measure that she conducted one on one sessions with her staff preparing them for a sale.

Future Focus



Overall her work life balance improved as well as improved work satisfaction for her staff.

We can all learn from this Branch Manager by looking at what we really do and identifying the interface activity Noise. We then need to decide how to fix it to create capacity and then we can adjust our focus to delivering more value. We will all be happier, more productive and achieve more.

Diana Perry is Chief Product Officer at the Bevington Group with extensive experience in working with management and staff to deliver the desired business process outcomes for organisations quickly and effectively. In addition, Diana is a guest lecturer at the Master of Enterprise and Master of Supply Chain at the University of Melbourne.


[1] Samson and Bevington research completed in 2012 and published in the book Implementing Strategic Change reviewed 117 organisations and measured the waste

 [2] Samson and Bevington define interface activity noise as “those interfacing activities, including checking, correcting and chasing, which are necessary to enable 'stuff' to enter the business and be passed from one business process step to the next. It includes both the work that needs to be done to enable difficulties at entry to be resolved and the downstream effort required to compensate for not managing prior interface activity properly.”