Increasing Productivity

Increasing Productivity

Date: On Demand (access any time)
Investment: $285 per person
(Discounts for multiple participants)

INCLUDES: One-on-One Telephone Coaching

As a manger it is your duty to coach, lead and manage your team – developing your team and helping them achieve more.

However as managers we often get sucked into the day to day workings of our team and more focussed on getting the job done than on developing and grooming our employees.

Before you can begin to save time or spend your time more productively, you must first identify where your team’s time goes to begin with.

One of the most effective ways to do this is to begin tracking your time as soon as you get into work. Have a brainstorming session and ask each member of the team to list down all the activities that they do as part of their job. You can have them first list down individual activities and then also compile a list of activities that are common for more than one person in the team.

The second thing you need to do is to classify all the activities. You can put them into two categories productive and non-productive. A productive activity is one that contributes to the overall mission and vision of your team or of your organisation. An unproductive activity is one that does not contribute to the vision or mission of the team or the organisation.

How much of your and your team’s time is spent on productive activities and how much of your time is spent on non-productive activities?

Also remember to make a note of how productive your team currently is with respect to it’s output measures.

Tips to Develop Your Team

Over the next two pages we will how to figure out what is working and what is not working for your team, how to fix the things that are not working and how to educate and train your team to achieve more.

1. What is working?

Now that you know where each person in your team is spending time, examine all the activities that are productive for each team member. You will have a few items that will be common for each person in the team. Identify the most productive ways and educate all the team members on the same.

Encourage each team member to spend more time and effort doing things that are productive versus doing things that are not impactful. It helps to prepare a job aid or chart for the team to list unproductive vs. productive activities.

2. What is not working?

Your team has identified a bunch of unproductive activities, both in terms of individuals and for the team as a whole.

For this list of activities, circle out things that can be eliminated altogether, perhaps they are just done because they have always been done.

Make a list of things that need to be done, but need to be done in a better way.

Lastly, identify those items that need to be done, and cannot be done in a more effective or better way. The team will need to continue doing these things even if they are unproductive.

3. Ask team members to fix things

Remember as a manager it is your role to be a facilitator as much as possible. Gather your team for another round of brainstorming.

Look at all the things that are unproductive, yet still need to be done. Maybe you have some items from the productive list as well which need to be done in a better or more efficient way.

Ask the team to think of ways to do these things:

  • Better
  • Faster
  • Smarter
  • With less effort
  • With less cost

4. Educate and train

In many cases your team members do things a certain way because they do not know any better. In other words they lack the skills or knowledge to do something more efficiently.

Take a look at the tasks each team member does or is supposed to do and ask yourself these questions:

Can you identify any training programs that can help this person become more productive?

Are there any programs your team needs to go through to become more productive?

What are the alternative to training?

Does this person need to be mentored in order to learn this skill-set?

Can you or another person in the team, teach this skill to the people that need it? Do you need to have informal on the job sessions for certain team mates?

5. Use technology

Another great way to increase productivity is to use technology. There is a ton of software in the market to help you do almost anything, and often your IT department can even develop one just for your team once you explain what you need and why you need it. Be careful when adopting technology, ensure that it really will help your team become more productive and not less and also take into account the time it will take to train your team on how to use it and become proficient on it.

6. Identify obstacles

In order to increase your team’s productivity you will need to identify the obstacles to their productivity. Sometimes it has nothing to do with the way the individual is working, however the obstacle may be with the process itself. Maybe the individual needs to work with another team which slows down their work, maybe they need to wait for an approval from someone who is not always accessible etc. Once you identify obstacles in the process, think of all the things you can do to eliminate or manage around them better.

7. Improve the productivity curve

As a manager it makes no sense to do these things unless they have positive results. Measure your teams output and productivity before and after this exercise. You should notice an increase in productivity after making these changes,

It is a good idea to do this exercise once a quarter to ensure that you continue to develop your team in the right way.