Resources are scarce and you can’t quite get everything done. You know you are understaffed but your company has a hiring freeze and it's up to you to work harder, right? Well, that is not necessarily correct.
Consider that most work units are only working at sixty percent efficiency. There is a good chance your team is spending too much time on the wrong things and not enough time on the things that will truly add value to your company’s balance sheet during a time when resources become scarcer.
These suggestions will help you identify some low hanging fruit to achieve higher levels of productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Connect your team to a deeper purpose.
An important aspect of connecting your team to a deeper purpose is to show your teammates how their work will benefit others. Begin to have dialogue with your team about examples of how the team impacts others. This can be done during regular meetings to show appreciation for a job well done and its impact. You can also use examples of when the team didn’t do something and how it adversely impacted another team. When the team begins to understand how their work impacts others, the team begins to work with a deeper purpose.
Over time you can invite teammates to tell stories about how their work impacted others. This can be done during team building sessions, lunch and learns, or regularly scheduled meetings.
Provide clarity for better work execution. Now that the team has connected to a deeper purpose, the team will have a better idea of the importance of their contribution. The leader can help the team by defining the priorities and encourage teammates to set goals.
One of the most effective ways to build your team’s success is through regular meetings and to have a regular cadence of meetings. Most of our clients have found success by conducting goal-setting meetings at the beginning of the week. Informal check-ins during the course of the week to keep things on track. And, an end-of-week meeting focused on outcomes - what worked well, and one important issue that needs to be addressed for continuous improvement.
- Informal check-ins are a great way to keep your teammates engaged with their progress. Acknowledging and celebrating their contributions is an excellent way to keep them highly engaged. It also makes it easier to discuss areas that need improvement when the time comes. Unfortunately, when leaders don’t regularly perform these check-ins, the employee begins to feel uninformed and questions their value to the team. Oftentimes, leaders can reverse the negative feelings when they are able to spend a bit of quality time with each of their teammates.
- It is important for all teammates to have a definitive list of deliverables they are responsible for. This sounds basic but teams are so dynamic and overworked that some employees might be too busy putting out fires and lose track of productively using their time. Fire fighting becomes what they are responsible for. When this happens, you can be sure your work execution system needs to be fixed.
- Look at each job function within your team and list the major work categories and under each category list the deliverables. Which of those deliverables can be delegated and which ones must be done by the individual? When you begin to look at core work categories and deliverables you can begin to see if work is being done by the right level of employee. We find in many instances that first-line supervisors are not being utilized properly and the managers are working down a level or two. This exercise is a real eye-opener when you ask each teammate to do this exercise on their own. Typically, we find there is a misunderstanding of the work required of certain positions on the teams we work with.