Life and business move fast these days. The argument can be made that time is a constant, but the perception is otherwise.
This likely comes from the onslaught of information, tasks, marketing, communications, and commitments that have become the norm of our society.
Unlike the constant pace of time, these things DO come faster and faster. While we operate with the same 24 hours every day, these inputs expand well beyond our limits to absorb them.
How can you operate your business at maximum productivity in this kind of environment?
Dr. Henry Cloud’s book is a must-read on this subject. Whether personally or professionally, you must begin with vision, values, and goals. These enable you to determine your real priorities, and your actions would then be based on those four concepts working together.
If you start by dealing with whatever is sent your way, you will find yourself at the end of each day and each week falling further and further behind on the things that really matter to you and your business.
Boundaries are critical to productivity and ultimate success. Yet, we all struggle with them at times.
D-Wired Individuals – You are very driven by nature. You move fast, and you get things done. The danger for you is that in doing so, you may inadvertently be encroaching on the boundaries of your team members. Push too hard, and this could produce an adverse effect, whereby progress is halted.
The key for you is to know the strengths of each member of your team and allocate work accordingly. You will also need to monitor the load and do occasional load leveling. Your people want to do well and help you, but they may not realize how much they have taken on until it is too late. Give them permission to “stop the line” and come to you when they are overwhelmed so you can adjust for priorities.
I-Wired Individuals – Today’s environment is especially challenging for I-wired individuals. “New” is one of your favorite words, and the world is full of “new” – new ideas, new messages, new technology, and new things to do. It can be exciting – but also distracting – if you do not adhere to your vision, values, goals, and priorities. It will help you to write these down and keep them in front of you at all times so that, when you are distracted, you can very quickly regain focus.
S-Wired Individuals – The input for you can be overwhelming. As a natural processor and detailer, too many details will stall your progress. You will experience indecision. Boundaries help you determine which details and processors are your responsibility, and which should be allocated to others. You will feel like you should do it all, but the reality is, you cannot and you should not. When you sense overwhelm, go back to your four-part boundary list and review your vision, values, goals, and priorities. Discuss anything outside those boundaries with your leader so the work can continue without undue stress on any one person.
C-Wired Individuals – As a deep thinker, constant interruption can be extremely stressful for you. For you, the answer would be to limit the inputs at certain times. Honor your need for focus time by allocating times when you allow no new inputs while you focus deeply on one thing. Discuss this need with your manager or your clients, then honor the time they allow you for this by making it deeply and highly productive. If you can show tangible results from your focus time – or a tangible outcome of your analysis – everyone wins.
In years past, businesses spent a great deal of time and money attempting to train people out of their weaknesses. The concept of overcoming weakness prevailed. While there is merit to that to some degree, it proved to be a costly experiment in the workplace.
As a leader, in order to increase productivity, you must ensure your people are able to work in their highest strengths at least 70% of the time. This eliminates much of the learning curve and curtails the frustration factor that comes with having to do a task you neither enjoy nor feel competent in doing.
Done well, this provides a compounding factor. People working in their strengths are naturally more efficient in those areas.
While tools are part of the problem, they are also a big part of the solution. This is partly why robotics are taking firm root in our offices, homes, vehicles, and just about everywhere we go. Where humans fall short of keeping up, technology CAN match pace with technology.
However, there is still a need for human connection. If you are considering fully automating your customer service, for example, there could be hidden dangers. Your customers need to feel connected and nurtured. To the degree technology supports that, it makes sense. But where it makes them feel disconnected or devalued, you have a problem.
The bottom line is, productivity – real productivity that matters to your bottom line success – is not always about “more, more, more.” Sometimes, it is about less. You can’t do everything, nor should you. But you can do those things that support you and your company’s vision, values, goals, and priorities. Working within this zone creates profitability and success, both personally and professionally.
To learn more about how you can create a highly productive and focused team, contact Deb Ingino.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.