Article

Oper­a­tional Excellence

The 3 tac­tics of high­ly pro­duc­tive managers

September 30, 2020

Author

Jai­son Joseph

Country Manager Regional Country Manager

Most man­agers put a huge amount of time into their jobs. Dur­ing times of cri­sis, they would work around the clock if necessary.

How­ev­er, that’s not a sus­tain­able strat­e­gy. Long peri­ods of work may not lead to improved pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. Instead, it could lead to increased lev­els of dis­trac­tion, ill-health and, ulti­mate­ly, low­er productivity. 

The COVID-19 pan­dem­ic has com­pli­cat­ed the lives of man­agers fur­ther. The pan­dem­ic has abrupt­ly changed the way com­pa­nies work, and man­agers now find them­selves work­ing with­out an instruc­tion man­u­al and deal­ing with addi­tion­al stres­sors such as: 

  • A work­force strug­gling to adapt to vir­tu­al technologies 
  • Com­mu­ni­cat­ing effec­tive­ly with a dis­trib­uted team 
  • Feel­ings of iso­la­tion and uncer­tain­ty that sap pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and motivation 
  • The thin­ning wall between per­son­al life and work 

Key tac­tics to boost productivity

One of the most impor­tant tasks we work on as con­sul­tants is to improve the pro­duc­tiv­i­ty of every­one in a com­pa­ny, from work­ers doing repet­i­tive jobs to top management. 

For ground-level work­ers, elim­i­nat­ing non-value-adding activ­i­ties is usu­al­ly a good way to improve pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. How­ev­er, for those in super­vi­so­ry and man­age­ment roles, the key is to improve the effec­tive­ness of the way they work. 

In his arti­cle, Man­ag­ing Your­self: Extreme Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, Robert C. Pozen sets out six straight­for­ward prin­ci­ples for exec­u­tives to fol­low, with prac­ti­cal tips to put them into action. They are: 

  1. Know your com­par­a­tive advantage
  2. It’s not the time you spend but the results you produce
  3. Think first, read or write second
  4. Pre­pare your plan but be ready to change it
  5. Let oth­ers own their space
  6. Keep things short and simple

Here are the three tac­tics man­agers should use to man­age and improve their productivity: 

  1. Know your com­par­a­tive advantage 

The first is to know your com­par­a­tive advan­tage – the things you can do more effec­tive­ly than any­one else in the organ­i­sa­tion. This aware­ness helps exec­u­tives spend their time where it’s most valu­able, rather than on tasks that could be com­plet­ed just as well by some­one else, per­haps on a low­er salary. 

  1. Del­e­gate work to the right people 

He points out that in order to man­age their time effec­tive­ly it’s impor­tant for man­agers to iden­ti­fy what to del­e­gate. I would add that it’s also essen­tial to del­e­gate effec­tive­ly. When you make sure that the per­son you’re del­e­gat­ing the task to appre­ci­ates its pur­pose and val­ue, they will take own­er­ship of it and will put their ener­gy into doing it well. 

In their arti­cle Man­age Your Ener­gy, Not Your Time, Tony Schwartz and Cather­ine McCarthy observe that when some­one is doing work that mat­ters to them, “they typ­i­cal­ly feel more pos­i­tive ener­gy, focus bet­ter, and demon­strate greater per­se­ver­ance”. This will help them pri­ori­tise activ­i­ties, lead­ing to bet­ter pro­duc­tiv­i­ty while increas­ing job satisfaction. 

Also, when you have the result of what you need to achieve in mind, staff at all lev­els can make the best use of their time. 

  1. Pre­pare your plan, but be pre­pared to change it 

Anoth­er of Robert Pozen’s six prin­ci­ples worth men­tion­ing here is to pre­pare your plan but be ready to change it. Again, I will take it a step fur­ther. It’s not just the indi­vid­ual exec­u­tive that needs to make their own plans and be ready to change them as cir­cum­stances arise. 

For a team or an entire organ­i­sa­tion to be tru­ly pro­duc­tive, it’s essen­tial to work togeth­er to devel­op plans, but to be ready to change them as need­ed if unfore­seen issues come up at the imple­men­ta­tion stage. In this case, man­agers need to be quick to respond to the sit­u­a­tion and take appro­pri­ate cor­rec­tive action. 

New real­i­ty, new lead­er­ship style 

Despite the changes brought on by the pan­dem­ic, the points above remain rel­e­vant – even in a remote work­ing environment. 

How­ev­er, in the New Nor­mal, com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems will be crit­i­cal for com­pa­nies as work activ­i­ties move away from an office to a home-based environment. 

Man­agers must adapt by: 

  • Show­ing flexibility 
  • Adjust­ing expec­ta­tions for employ­ee per­for­mance, engage­ment, and well-being 
  • Pri­ori­tis­ing their well-being before they can take care of oth­er people 

At Renoir Con­sult­ing, we work with key stake­hold­ers with­in our clients’ organ­i­sa­tions to help them under­stand their roles and to cre­ate sys­tems and process­es to improve plan­ning and man­age­ment con­trol – even if work takes place virtually. 

This helps exec­u­tives find more mean­ing and pur­pose in their work, lead­ing to bet­ter own­er­ship and more effec­tive implementation. 

Con­tact us for an appoint­ment if you would like to start your organisation’s trans­for­ma­tion jour­ney. 

Author

Jai­son Joseph

Country Manager Regional Country Manager

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