Tag Archives: productivity

Guess Who’s Trying to Sink Your Boat!

crew team

At a Gallup presentation the audience was asked to imagine their business was a ten-person crew boat.

The speaker then went on to share data (at the time) indicating approximately 30% of the US workforce fell into the “engaged” category, which meant that they were invested in their work and workplace, that they made a strong discretionary effort, and worked at a very productive level.

If these people were on your crew boat, they would be diligently ‘manning their oars.’

We were then informed that just over half of the US workforce fell into the disengaged category. These people were not highly-motivated and, though they made a fair effort each day, they were more likely to do only what had to be done – and sometimes less!

If these people were on your crew boat, they would occasionally dip their oars in the water but mostly sit idle looking at the scenery.

The remainder of the nation’s workforce, we were told, fell into the actively disengaged category. These people tend to undermine the work, spread rumors, call out sick at higher rates and do only the bare minimum.

If they were on your crew boat, they would most likely be trying to sink it!

Makes a strong case for implementing a formalized engagement plan, wouldn’t you say?

Time Management Barriers

time

Continuing with our previous post’s theme of time management, the Productivity Institute shares some helpful insights into the concept of managing time.

For example, it is important to recognize that while we all have the “same amount of time,” the way we manage it will vary from person to person. In other words, time management is a relative thing.

It is also true that people frequently make decisions about how they manage their time based on feelings or assumptions rather than facts because few of us take the time to actually measure how we use time or where we spend our time.

But, as Productivity Institute founder Dr. Donald Wetmore has said, “If you want to manage it you have to measure it!”

As a starting point to measuring the things that might be preventing us from using time wisely, here are six of the most common barriers to productivity and good time management:

  1. Attitude
  2. Other people
  3. Weather
  4. Fatigue
  5. Belief there is not enough time
  6. Unproductive habits

In our next post we will take a closer look at some of these barriers, and share ideas for how to avoid them.

It’s About Time!

Our previous post focused on the value and importance of achieving “quick wins” when engaged in Continuous Improvement. Continuing with the theme of time, today’s post takes the concept of working on the right things to a different level,  and focuses on studying and more effectively using the most universal and, arguably, most valuable component of work and work processes: time.

When we are faced with the challenge of evaluating and improving a business, we have many metrics to choose from. We can ‘follow the money’ — study the spending: where does it go, how does it compare to previous periods or to competitors; we may look at market share or wallet share; we might measure revenue per employee or benchmark against the competition; or we might measure customer satisfaction or the customer experience.

But one of the most powerful measurements for helping to make breakthrough improvements is also one of the simplest: following where the time goes.

By determining how much time it takes to complete a cycle of value (i.e., building a widget, closing the books, making a sale, completing a project, etc.) and how much of that is truly adding value, an organization captures information that provides a motivating vision and road map for making improvements.

Key areas to study are: delays, over-processing, rework, transportation, and inspection; and using time as a measure to find and focus opportunities for improvement has three big advantages:

  1. time drives important business results
  2. time is universally applicable
  3. it is very simple to do — measuring time is something anyone can do!

Our next post will take a deeper-dive into the concept of measuring time, and will share some specific and proven methods for making improvements by studying the use of time.

 

Engagement, Motivation & Work

Enterprise engagement has been a frequently-addressed topic in this blog, and a recent post shared some of our Partners in Improvement group’s thoughts on an important element of an engagement strategy — rewards and recognition.

In that post, several points were made about being careful with the use of extrinsic, or monetary rewards as motivators.

To add some additional perspective,  the Enterprise Engagement Alliance shared information from a past New York Times column “The Secret of Effective Motivation,” in which authors Amy Wrzesniewski, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management, and Barry Schwartz, Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College, suggest that the most effective type of motivation in terms of actual long-term results is action based on an internal motive — that is, “the pleasure derived from the activity and results themselves rather than from an instrumental motive such as the desire for fame or money.”

“Helping people focus on the meaning and impact of their work, rather than on, say, the financial returns it will bring, may be the best way to improve not only the quality of their work but also… their financial success,” the article states.

This viewpoint is well-aligned with our “Engagement Around the Work” approach, which involves specific steps for achieving a
culture of engagement that is linked with team productivity, performance, and job satisfaction.

This approach incorporates a clear objective of engaging people around the one thing they all have in common—and the one thing that can bring about increased profitability and a sustainable competitive edge—the work.

As Bill Conway often said, “It’s all about the work!”

Read “Engagement Around the Work” white paper.