With several clients experiencing unprecedented volume increases in their business, I had the opportunity to help them uncover hidden potential in their productivity and set new benchmarks for their true capacity.
We have all heard it said that “Most people can make even a small amount of work fill their work-day”. I know in my case that has proved to be true. When teams get comfortable with a pace they often convince themselves that productivity gains are not possible, and you hear their cry….”We need more help!” Then as work or volume increases, employees often feel overloaded or overwhelmed by the new demands and no new staff. With budget constraints, the typical result is that managers take the added burden upon themselves by working tremendous hours to keep employees and customers satisfied and problems off the bosses radar. The unfortunate reality of these actions is that sustainable business can’t be built on these one-time heroics.
How do you avoid or overcome this challenge when it happens? Here are 4 steps you can take to create lasting capacity and productivity improvements:
- Have each of your key employees write down the most critical tasks that keep your business running, your customers happy, and your revenue flowing. Make sure that you have captured all critical tasks.
- Next have them track what percentage of their time they spend on each of these tasks. In the process, identify those tasks that are taking too long and may need to be reviewed or modified. Also write down time spent on any non-critical tasks.
- Find out why people are spending time on these non-critical tasks. You will likely find that much of this work can be delayed, can be completed by temporary help, or can be eliminated all together.
- Make the necessary changes and refocus your team on only the critical tasks.
In my most recent experiences I saw teams that showed productivity improvements of 20% or greater in just a few days. In one case, I saw improvement of 200% in just under 30 days. Imagine what that did for this clients bottom line! 200% improvment in production with zero added cost.
Engage your team in this process and see what improvements you can achieve.
Following significant productivity improvements, teams often experience a period of slower business and they quickly regress to their old productivity levels. During these slower periods try these 5 things in order to avoid erosion of your productivity levels:
- Engage a portion of your teams time in researching or reviewing new technologies or business processes to further improve your capacity.
- Engage the team in an end-to-end business process review; looking for redundant activities, inefficient processes or multiple handoffs. Make the process improvements.
- Engage the team in reviewing competitor products or business processes to discover improvement opportunities.
- Involve your team in strategic planning, thereby expanding their knowledge and understanding of key drivers of your business.
- Reward your team with added training or education to further improve their skills and productivity.
Successful leaders don’t lose these hard-won gains to complacency. They use the productivity gains to find new ways of reducing costs, improving their business or investing in their people.
Unleash your hidden potential by following these steps or ask Tim for help.