From CEOs to Chief HR officers to line managers, a continual challenge exists: How to increase productivity.
Depending on the industry, small strategy shifts can deliver significant differences. For example, the most productive retail salesperson has b
?een found to sell 8 times as many clothes as the average salesperson, and the most productive fishmonger cuts fishes 3 times as fast as the average one.
So what can drive productivity differences within competing businesses?
A recent Harvard Business Review pinpointed seven ways in which the most productive people act differently than people of average productivity.
- Set big goals
CEOs need to set big goals. This practice can encourage workers to increase average pace, even without realizing it. The HBR‘s analogy? Lazily doing chores over the weekend versus having a major household goal, like Spring cleaning. When a large goal is set, it’s often reached. (And if not, the “why not” can be used to drive productivity in the future.)
- Be consistent
Deadlines always shift, and crises always arrive. However, most employees don’t reach peak productivity simply by putting on a burst of speed toward a goal. The most productive folks work consistently, without huge peaks in effort.
Collaboration also enhances productivity.
- Develop good knowledge and expertise
Knowledge and expertise matter to productivity. New employees — or those who have been shifted to new functions — simply aren’t as fast as people who have already completed the curve or have five years or more of experience. Obviously, this presents a tradeoff — and defines a strategy — around when and how to bring in new employees: Not when peak productivity is on the line.
- Provide resources to aid productivity
It’s all well and good asking your team to work more productively but sometimes this can’t be done unless you provide them with resources that can help them work better and faster. If they work in an office, provide them with a paperless environment that will be easier for them to manage documents. If they work in a store, provide them with things like a mixed bill counter that will cut the time it takes to do small jobs like counting that day’s money. If you provide your employees with resources and an environment to be more productive, you’re going to see better results.
- Identify potential problems and solve them
Senior leader are responsible for identifying problems before they occur. Productivity increases when employees can augment that process. Just like looking into solutions similar to global payment gateway services which could help with tracking sales in your business, creating strategies to empower line workers take action to solve them before they become deal breakers. Or even figuring out that using a invoice template could help save the business time when it comes to dealing with clients, this can all make a difference to productivity in the workplace.
- Seize the initiative
Productive people don’t wait to start or do something. They see what needs to be done to move a project along or complete it, and they do it. If this means asking for forgiveness rather than permission, so be it.
- Encourage collaboration
If the first six productivity traits seem very individualistic, they don’t play out that way. No one can be highly productive in a vacuum. Collaboration is part of good business leadership. Productive people may be competitive, but working happily with teams and exhibiting good teamwork is a must.