Improving Productivity; A Secret within a Secret
I want to share two secrets with you in this blog. Secrets that some of our
customers have used to improve productivity by 10% in just two short
months. We would all like to experience that, right? Would you like to
know how? Well let me show you by revealing a couple of secrets.
#1 The first secret is that small and big companies, (and we work with
some of the biggest), all make the same mistake when things get going fast.
Perhaps you’re asking, “What mistake is that?”
Well as the pace increases, we notice there’s more time spent in commun-
ication activities. People talk, they email, they attend more meetings, more
talk, more phone calls, pretty soon their entire day can be one
communication activity after another. But, and here’s the drum roll….
they stop (or never start) documenting what they expect and what they
accomplished in a central place.
In fact as we all get going faster, it’s easier not to document our
expectations much less critical details for a project, our action plan for
addressing what’s next, our summary of what just happened. We’re think
and we say to our self if not to others, “we are too busy… don’t have time.”
And guess what, more talking and less documenting means things are going
to get done slower, painfully slower… especially frustrating when you are
If you add in the effect of that as your department size increases, that means
you have that many more places information can get captured, as people
tend to document in emails, their own Word docs, Excel files and who knows
where (as opposed to in ManagePro, as a common workspace to work from).
You know what I’m talking about. I had it happen to me today, where
someone didn’t update the password change on a major server, and they
are out today, yikes!
The consequences are painful and expensive, and unnecessary. Hand-offs
get dropped, time gets wasted running down the wrong path, things get
surprisingly behind and over budget. You know what I mean.
In fact you’ll probably have a better way to capture this than I have, but
the mantra in my head goes something like:
More talk, less concise/centralized documenting = more frustration and less speed.
Ok, you got that one, it’s true whether you work in a large or small
company. So what about the second secret? Beyond documenting
(in something like ManagePro) how else do you get more performance?
#2 Ok, so here’s the second secret. Almost everyone does better if
they use a scorecard to track their performance. And the people who
don’t do better with scorecards… well you should be taking a second look.
Get this, the scorecards can be done on amazingly simple stuff. We’ve seen
this boost performance by such things as simply targeting your top 5 or 10
tasks to complete each week in ManagePro.
But the secret within the secret is:
1. You need to make the scorecards public, and
2. You need to respond to the scorecards of your direct reports, regardless
of whether they score great or poorly.
Public display generates good peer pressure, and response from your
supervisor adds meaningfulness to the process, and it all can add up to
an amazing boost to individual performance.
When you think about it, which of the people working with you or for you,
don’t you care if they accurately understand what’s critical to get
accomplished this week? No one, right?
And adding tracking and scorecards to the process of getting done what’s
critical adds visibility, accountability and recognition for “knocking it out of
the park”. All the right kinds of stuff to make things happen at work.
Sometimes you don’t need high powered analytics, heavily researched flow
charts and ever more insightful power point presentations to improve
performance. There are two powerful enhancers to every-one’s workforce
performance that are simple and straight-forward to apply.
1. Practice centralized, concise, documentation. Document what you want,
what you expect and what happened through to completion.
2. Practice identifying, tracking and score carding what’s critical each week,
or every two weeks.
Try it out, you’ll be glad you did.