Three Areas to Improve Productivity
There are only twenty-four hours in a day, and we all strive to get as much done as possible before the day is over. I’ve seen people running around, looking busy all day, and every day. But are they being productive? Productivity is not about “looking busy.” As a business leader, you know the importance of being productive. You are, most likely, spending a lot of time thinking about how to improve productivity of your company and teams. Productivity doesn’t fall solely on the shoulders of the leader, but the leader is ultimately responsible for the results of their team. If you want to improve productivity in your workplace, there are three focus areas that can impact your productivity immediately. Let’s break them down.
Any type of improvement has to start with yourself. It may sound like a bit of cliché, but there’s no substitute for leading by example. In his book, The E-Myth, author Michael E. Gerber talks about creating a prototype for your business. The prototype you develop helps you refine processes and get all systems in place, so you can then share that prototype with your employees.
As a leader it is essential to focus on:
- Time management: How will you manage your time? How will your days/weeks/months/quarters and years be managed? How will you keep trivia off your plate so you can focus on what needs to be done?
- Decision making: Leaders are decision makers. They make decisions and stick with them. How will you make decisions (individually, at meetings, consensus with team)? How will you communicate decisions? What criteria will you use for making decisions?
- Delegation: This can be a struggle, especially for new leaders. What will you delegate to others? How will you set expectations when you delegate? How will you follow up?
Putting systems in place for time management, decision making, and delegation will help you be productive, as opposed to “busy,” allowing you to focus on the other two areas.
People do the work. No matter how automated your company is. you still need people. Businesses live and die by their people. If you have mediocre people, you’ll get mediocre results. Good people produce good results. The best people produce the best results! Why not go for the best?
When putting together your workforce, it is vital that you do not have any dead weight. You know the person that is always angry and seems to sabotage every project he or she is working on? You can’t afford to keep them. The price is too high. Once you are dealing with people who actually want to get a job done, and people who share the company vision, then you can focus on improving your people.
As a leader, it is critical for you to develop an engaged workforce. An engaged workforce consists of people emotionally involved in their work… they love their jobs! When they find satisfaction in their work, they will naturally feel more energized and will put in that extra effort needed to excel. Leaders also need to create a culture where people are encouraged to grow, and at times make mistakes. When people are encouraged to take risks, they develop and will find better, faster ways of doing business.
Finally, leaders need to invest in the continuous improvement of their people. Help them become better at their jobs, whether this means training classes, seminars, or advanced education. Investing in the development of your team will bring you a huge pay off!
People have to understand what is expected of them. They won’t be able to guess or to read your mind. The processes in your company are there to make sure you deliver a consistent product or service to every customer, every time. You don’t have processes? Well, develop them now. Create processes for everything from how you open the shop in the morning, to dress code, to how you manufacture and inspect the complicated widgets you produce.
Processes create consistency, and customers love consistency. However, once you create a process, it should be evaluated periodically. Remember to touch base with the people in charge of execution, and ensure that you make provisions for improving your processes over time. Is there new technology that can help streamline a step, or has a part of the process become obsolete? Continually inspecting and improving processes will help you produce a consistent product in a more efficient manner. This is how to stay ahead of your competition.
This Week’s Challenge
Take a look at your personal, people, and process systems and look for areas of improvement. If you already focus on these things, great, but there is always room for improvement, so resist the temptation of complacency. “We are doing fine,” only lasts until your competition is doing better.
Are you Serious About Improving Productivity in your Workplace?
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Quote of the Week
“Don’t confuse busy with productivity. Many people are simply busy being busy.”