5 Painless Ways to Increase Your Team’s Productivity
Is there a business in the world that doesn’t want to be more productive?
As technology becomes increasingly accessible and the pace of change hastens across the business landscape, efficiency and speed of execution are becoming key to success. Here, five entrepreneurial business veterans share how they maintain productivity in their businesses to stay ahead in such a fiercely competitive market.
1. Document and share a vision
Any company is rudderless without a clear vision to guide its decision-making. How can you arrive at any port without some sort of destination in mind? According to serial entrepreneur and Lexmark executive Rod Hogrefe, documenting and sharing your vision for each project helps employees take ownership of it, which in turn drives productivity.
“Productivity starts the moment the alarm goes off in the morning,” Hogrefe says. “If you’re happy to get up, get showered, have your breakfast and get to work because there’s something important that you’re working on, there’s productivity instantly. You’ve got to have your people in the right headspace to start with, and a compelling vision or goal is the best way to do that.”
2. Focus on the right tasks
Not all tasks are equal. Some activities will have a more direct and immediate effect on the growth and prosperity of your business than others. According to Adam Pozniak, a senior VP at Dimension Data, the key to promoting productivity among your staff is to prize effectiveness over efficiency. He encourages all employees to focus on the tasks that will have the greatest positive effect on the business.
“Productivity experts often use the analogy of chopping down trees and how quickly we can chop them down,” Pozniak says. “I’m much more focused on whether we’re in the right forest. And if we’re in the right forest, are we chopping down the right trees and are we doing that in the right way? Only then can we worry about how quickly and efficiently we chop them down.”
3. Encourage your team to set achievable daily goals
Accomplishment gives us a sense of momentum and success, and can help boost morale. Setting reachable targets for each day and checking them off as you achieve them will give you an actionable plan that has the tangible result of seeing your business progress.
Rolling this approach out across the business can help you improve productivity on a larger scale. Cloud Quarterback’s Founder J.P. Harvey insists employees follow the same daily schedule he does and has found this has an exceptional effect on the business’s productivity and collaborative potential.
“It’s company policy that everyone schedules their day in the same way that I do in their calendars without exception,” he says. “No-one in the company has done that in previous roles but every single person is blown away the first day about how much they get done.”
4. Find the tech that works for your team
Technology is almost an extra limb for the modern professional — without it, many of us would be unable to get our jobs done. With an ever increasing number of workplace apps, growing businesses need to be strategic in their software choices to get the most out of the technology available to them.
Aaron Williams built and sold recruitment startup Xpand Group. He says there is great value in carefully considering which applications best meet your business needs rather than simply using the most popular applications by default.
“The modern productivity suite — your email clients, your to-do lists — is functional but also limited,” Williams says. “It doesn’t always get us where we need to go. So encourage your team to step outside common practice and common products to really search for tools that reflect the way your workforce operates.”
5. Be disciplined.
There’s no magic formula that will instantly make your business more productive. Reckon CIO Zack Levy believes the most important factor once you’ve chosen a productivity approach or software tool is to apply the discipline to see your decision through. Frittering to and fro between technology platforms and methodologies will only waste time, whereas an imperfect solution would’ve improved productivity if you’d stuck with it.
“Although there’s a wide range of tools out there, one thing that’s important is discipline,” Levy says. “You need to have the discipline and the loyalty to whatever it is that you decide to use. Sometimes it’s not necessarily about the tool, but more about the commitment to use the tool. If you lack discipline, I don’t think there’s a tool in the world that will help you be organised.”
In short (TL;DR)
If you want to improve productivity in your business:
- share your vision for the business and each project
- make sure everyone is doing the right things first
- set achievable to-do lists and make sure your employees do the same
- choose the tech that best suits your purposes, and
- have the discipline to commit to your tools and techniques