By Hanan Awaad
With the economic changes and the many people who decide to start new businesses, become entrepreneurs or even start a small venture side-to-side with their part-time of full-time jobs, productivity is becoming a prominent way of life. On the other hand, some statistics states that the average employee is unproductive seven working days in a given month, and productivity dropped in Canada from more 90% to less than 75%.
Increasing the business productivity and the company performance means increasing the business competitive advantage. You will have more time to innovate and work on product/service development, make your decision-making process more efficient, reduce waste (time and material), and lower costs.
In this article, I share with you the best strategies (organized in an easy-to-follow list) I learned working in consulting and running my businesses.
1- OPTIMIZE ORGANIZATIONAL TIME MANAGEMENT
- Let’s admit it, we all waste valuable time in meetings. Shorten your meetings with:
- proper planning,
- be on time,
- focus on the meeting’s purpose.
- Implement the 80/20 Rule
This rule is known as Pareto Principle. It states that 80% of the outcome is generated by 20% of the causing factors. Assess and find those key clients that generate most of your revenue, focus on your best selling products, or pay more attention to the social media channels that generate most of your web traffic.
- Allow “Flex-Time” and “Flex-Place”
The 9-to-5 is not the only available career model in modern businesses. Offer other options to accommodate your team’s needs such as flexible hours, part-time, telecommuting, or work-from-home days. Read this article to get more insights about the contemporary career options you can offer to your team.
2- ELIMINATE PROCESS INEFFICIENCIES
- Tackle bottlenecks and workflow:
- Define business processes and set the order of tasks along with inputs required to perform the work and outputs expected.
- Set two types of deadlines, internal and external. This will create a safety margin to accommodate any unplanned interruptions.
- Focus on value-adding activities. Every business incorporates three types of activities: value-adding, non-value-adding, and wasteful. So, identify those non-value-adding and wasteful
- Assess those bottlenecks and consider ways to resolve the problem.
- Invest in the right collaborative tools.
Workflow management and team collaboration software and apps are becoming more advanced and very affordable. The right tools will enable you and your team to streamline the workflow and communicate effectively.
- Create a productive workspace with organization and scheduling equipment maintenance as well as housekeeping.
A good start is to use the 5 S method:
- Sort all the items, papers, and documents in the office.
- Set everything in order by assigning a designated place/ location for each item. Do not forget to label files and drawers to make it easy for everyone to locate things and returning them back.
- Shine your place, clean all surfaces and inspect for damaged or malfunctioning items.
- Standardize the workplace by making rules to keep the order you created. Apply the rules to everyone including you.
- Sustain the system you created and establish healthy habits.
3- BUILD A BUSINESS CULTURE FOCUSED ON EFFICIENCY
No matter how small is your business (even when you are a solopreneur) you still have a business culture (you may call it ‘company culture’ or ‘organizational culture’). Your business culture is shaped by the acceptable behaviours of the team, the aggregate values, and norms, both the formal and informal way of communications and the attitudes of everyone in the team including suppliers and sub-contractors.
Negative business cultures that encourage backbiting and differential treatment ignore unacceptable behaviours or use an inefficient reward system, will create resentment and mediocre performance and will affect team morale.
Focus on establishing efficient and precise active communications between all your team members, encourage and reward collaboration and invest in developing your skills as well as your team’s.
4- ASSESS YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE
Your business performance emulates the dominant leadership style within your business. Here are some suggestions to develop your leadership style:
- Practice Effective Delegation
Take the time to explain tasks to your team members and train them on some tasks and keep to yourself only those tasks that no one but you can do.
- Avoid Micromanagement
Admit it; you poured your heart into this business, and you want to remain in control of every tiny detail of it. Although micromanagement might be the management style that is more satisfying to you, think of the risks associated with it: burn-out, overworking and stress. To avoid micromanagement, here are few tips:
- Empower your team by giving them the autonomy they
- Instead of being cc’d in every and each correspondence, ask for less frequent updates.
- Lead by Example
Do not ask your team to do anything you are not willing to do yourself. Follow all the rules nd do not criticize your team, instead, apply the F.E.A.R technique:
- F: state the FACTS,
- E: EXPLAIN the damage,
- A: ask for an ACTION,
- R: clarify RESULTS and consequences of following or not following the rules and actions required.
5- MEASURE PRODUCTIVITY
Measure your and your team’s productivity to maximize your business potential. You do not need complicated performance indicators; you only need some basic math.
The basic formula for measuring productivity is the comparison between input and output. Inputs may include time, effort, salaries and other factors. Outputs may include a number of products sold, profit, revenue, the number of events organized, website traffic, or any other industry-related indicators.
Knowing and understanding your numbers will enable you to benchmark your business against competitors or industry best practice.
Working on improving your business productivity and performance is a strategic objective of you as a leader. Invest enough time and do not rush results. To get my e-Guide to increase your business productivity, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org