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Improve your team’s productivity

8th May 2015

5 Top Tips on how to make it happen

So it looks like Cameron will be staying at Number 10.  A BBC forecast has given the Tories 329 seats – enough to form a slender majority in the Commons.

However, every leader – be they an MP or Prime Minister, or a business manager or CEO – needs to ultimately have a great team behind them in order to be a great leader.

And if you’re watching the news today, you will see many MPs, from Ed Balls who thanked his campaign teams, to the SNP’s Mike Weir thanking their campaign teams and constituents for their help and hard work.  Ultimately it’s this help and hard work that helps to deliver results, whether it’s on the political campaign trail, or in the workplace.

 “Team productivity is like a fire. You can’t help it burn, but you can light it and fan the flames.”

Ever noticed how two people can be radically different in their level of productivity?

One person can produce two or three times the results in the same time frame.

Even if you and your team are highly productive there is always some room for improvement.

Here are 5 Top Tips on how to make it happen:-

  1. Remove email discussions

If you’re discussing important points back and forth via email – it’s a sign that you need to change your communication process.

Email is NOT effective for back and forth communication because:-

  • It results in messy discussions that are hard to follow
  • Discussions can’t be organised effectively. Categorising, sharing and searching through past emails is difficult
  • It slows down communication (an email conversation might take days due to the delay between responses – and might just take minutes by phone or in person).

One alternative to email is to schedule a meeting once a week to cover all of these complex issues.

  1. Standardise procedures

Find yourself explaining things twice?

Procedures aren’t just for training – they can be for any activity in your business that you do over and over.

Many businesses rely on informal or ad hoc processes which are stored only in the brains of staff members, not written down. However, you’ll not get the benefits of systems and procedures until you write them down,

Creating written procedures really helps identify where there are weaknesses in your current business activities.

You can’t see the problems unless you first standardise how you do everything. Then you can identify problem areas and gradually improve each process over time.

  1. Track activity time

This is a controversial one for some, but if you think about it, makes intuitive sense.

If you want to improve something, you firstly need to measure it. How do you measure productivity?

One way is that you can record the exact time spent on each activity in your team and find out exactly how long it takes to complete individual tasks.

Almost every company records their financial flows – where their money is earned and spent. Most factories measure the output of assembly line workers.

However, it’s not general practise to measure where knowledge-workers spend their time. Some companies do have this as a standard practise – for example at IBM they measure with accuracy where each person spends each minute of the day.

  1. Focus, focus, focus

Its human nature for your team to get excited about new projects and let the older ones slide a little.

But it’s tough to get things done that way.

Don’t let that sexy new project get in the way of older ones, if you can help it.

As a team leader, it’s your job to protect your team from ‘new projectitis.’

In the long run you’ll get it all done – faster.

  1. Let THEM make the decisions

Once you’ve removed all the obstacles from your team, there’s still one more thing: YOU need to get out of their way!

Your team members shouldn’t need to come to you for every single thing. If they do, then you are the bottleneck in the system.

If you don’t trust your team to make decisions, then what do you trust them to do?

You’ll know you have lit the productivity fire of your team when they are self-sufficient.

Ironically, many companies reward leaders that control and micro-manage their teams, instead of those that build self-led teams. Which do you think produces better results, as well as the future leaders of the company?

Need more tips on how to improve your team’s productivity?

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