What makes a company productive in 2017? There are many ways we can measure productivity, but in a simple sense – it’s the ability for a team to “get the right things done in the most efficient way”, so that the company moves forward and achieves its goals. So there are two components here:
The ability to consistently choose and focus your attention on the highest priority tasks in the jungle of options: EFFECTIVENESS.
The ability to complete these tasks in the fastest and smartest manner: EFFICIENCY.
Most people relate “productivity” to the second one – efficiency. That is paradoxically the less important one. If you don’t carefully select what are the most important outcomes, you might end up wasting most of your time and creative power – doing well, the things that shouldn’t be done at all. While the high-priority outcomes remain UNdone.
Through my work as a productivity coach, I have discovered certain patterns that stand on the way of true productivity; patterns that prevent otherwise ambitious companies with peak-performing employees from using their talent to the full capacity. Here are some of them:
1. NO CLEAR OBJECTIVES
One of the most common patterns is – people don’t take time to get clear what is the desired OUTCOME for their actions. If you ask them what are they focused on – they might tell you something loose like: “I’ll be doing sales today”. Instead of a clear measurable outcome, for example: “I will produce 30 cold-calls to sell product X to potential buyers from my prospect list”. Now that’s more concrete!
When you get clear what your OUTCOME is three things will happen:
- It becomes easier to reverse-engineer and come up with the most effective game-plan to achieve that OUTCOME.
- You are less likely to procrastinate as you have a target to reach.
- You have the freedom and you are flexible in case your plan doesn’t work. You can get back to the OUTCOME and come up with another plan.
2. LACK OF SYSTEMS FOR EFFECTIVE PLANNING
Peter Drucker said it: “If you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail”. I find it fascinating, that most people come into the office with no clear plan for their day. And I don’t mean a full calendar with meetings. I mean an effective plan, carefully created on the previous day – with a list of the most important OUTCOMES to be produced for the day to be successful. The major excuse is “I don’t have time to plan my day”. Guess what – if you don’t have 15 to 30 minutes to reflect on your day and plan your next day carefully, you will be up to 3 times less productive. Yes! You will probably feel more busy. But the probability to engage in low-priority tasks and to do things inefficiently will increase significantly. Effective planning can be a great way to eliminate a lot of the tasks that shouldn’t be done at all. And if done systematically, you can build a wonderful momentum, especially if the team creates it into a habit to plan and share their outcomes with their colleagues.
3. INABILITY TO STAY FOCUSED
“Attention!” Big word in 2017. Think about it – we are constantly bombarded with tons of information competing for our attention. Google did a research back in 2005. They found out that, we were producing the same amount of information for only 24 hours in 2005, that humans had produced from the beginning of human existence up until 2001. Now it’s 2017!! Everything demands our attention. We have all kind of electronic devices and access to multiply streams of information at all time. Microsoft did another research in 2015. The study has shown that our attention span has dropped from 12 to 8 seconds from 2000 to 2015 (due to the effects of the digital era, according to them).
So.. more things compete for our attention, but our ability to stay focused has decreased! GREAT NEWS! No wonder – more and more employees are constantly distracted at work, wasting tons of company money – procrastinating, multi-tasking and being ineffective. Often only minor tweaks can create wonders.
SO WHAT DO WE DO?
Company culture doesn’t change for a day or two. It takes long and systematic approach to improve, and create sustainable changes and build up productivity habits. But the results can be extraordinary.
If you can improve the productivity of your employees with as little as 20%, how much of value is that for the company in the long run?
INSANELY A LOT!
I love working with companies and helping them be on the top of their game!! Here’s a case, I did with the guys from No-More, who got me on board to help them be even more productive and motivated. I would love to help you and your team as well!
Reach out here to book a free 30-min consultation! And let’s get the ball rollin’…