Top 10 List: Putting Productivity Theory to the Test – Part 2

Click here if you missed Part 1 of this post

This is a continuation of the top 10 list put together by Chris Bailey on his lessons learned from a year-long productivity experiment.

5. There’s No Single Secret, But There Are Hundreds of Tactics

If you are waiting for a single productivity secret to magically fall into your lap from the heavens above, keep dreaming. Improving productivity is about creating a system out of hundreds of different tasks and tactics.

4. Working Too Hard or Too Much Shatters Productivity

Ever heard the phrase, “work smarter, not harder”? Yup, us too. Turns out it’s true. For some Alberta companies this might mean taking a closer look at the number of projects that you take on and re-evaluating where you’re allocating your resources. Working more doesn’t necessarily mean getting more done. If you find your shop is accumulating a lot of overtime, don’t assume it’s because there’s more work than hours in the day.

3. Need Motivation? Know WHY You’re Doing Something

Ever wonder why consultants want to spend so much time working on mission and vision statements during strategic planning processes? It’s because they’re trying to help you figure out your company’s purpose for existing. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but if you and your employees know exactly why your company exists, or why a certain new process is being implemented, you’re much more motivated to contribute to that vision of shared success. Communicate why you’re doing what you’re doing. And if you don’t have an answer for why? You might want to take a closer look at what you’re doing.

2. Be Kind To Yourself

Also known as, don’t kill yourself with your own expectations. When you first get started with productivity improvement, sometimes some initial success can set the expectation bar a little too high. You aren’t always going to get quick wins. You will likely fail in some aspects. It’s okay. What’s important is that you keep going.

This last one is a complete departure from Chris’ list, because unlike in his situation, a lot of us are here because we actually DO produced stuff and are concerned with productivity as it relates to how much we produce, but…

1. Don’t Forget That It Isn’t Just About the Numbers

For Chris’ personal productivity, quantifying how much stuff he did wasn’t the same thing as how many things he achieved. This is different than if you’re working for a manufacturer and you’re using your production numbers to measure your productivity.

But if you are a manufacturer, you have to pay attention to the numbers—you just can’t let them be the only guiding force. In strategic planning, it’s knowing the difference between outcomes and outputs. In the context of manufacturing, the things you produce are outputs and the difference that they make is the outcome. If you’re producing and selling lots of product, but your customers return 10% of it because of defects, it’s time to take a look at your outcomes rather than your outputs.

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