Productivity is not just about speed. It encompasses the quality of the results delivered. In order to power up productivity in your business, there are two things you need to work on.
Every year, the business plan calls for a number of initiatives to be undertaken. These initiatives aim to drive growth, better serve customers, or improve the bottom-line. In many companies, this means employees would need to take on those initiatives in addition to their daily workload. The consequence is a juggling act, with employees working feverishly to fulfill all their commitments.
An overwhelming workload creates stress, causing fatigue and leaving people frazzled. This applies to management and all levels of employees. Consider the impacts of divvying up your time amongst the commitments so that you could do the bare minimum to move things along. It is difficult to devote adequate energy to do quality work.
Instead of attempting to take on too much, focus on the most aggressive competitor, the worst bottleneck, or the inferior service that customers complain about most often. Put forward the best people to understand the crux of an issue. Explore options to create solutions that produce exceptional results, surpassing the former performance. The focus on a few, select initiatives increases productivity and will generate rewarding results.
Doing things in multiple and potentially conflicting ways creates confusion. To the customers, the differing customer experiences spur questions about credibility and the quality of management. To the employees, it is a nightmare to keep up with the diverse practices. Needless to say, the management of inconsistent practices is not a cake-walk.
Customers are quick to pick up on the varying services they receive. They have an inherent expectation built on their past experience with your business. They tend to get annoyed when a service is not available at a different location, the returns policy is different when a particular sales channel is used, or the query handling changes from department to department. The inconsistencies prompt customers to reassess their decision to do business with you.
For the business, inconsistent practices drive employees crazy. These folks work hard to follow the whimsical ‘guidelines.’ Yet, the potential for errors is high because of the onerous nature of the practices. Execution of work becomes a chore that calls for patience and memory. For the newcomers who try to make sense of the idiosyncrasies, it is mind boggling.
Consistency is the cornerstone for productivity. Inconsistencies lead to unnecessary complexities that have ripple effects. Consider the costs associated with inconsistent practices. They include training, delays caused by errors, rework effort, and frustrations arising from confusion. These are sure productivity dampers.
There is much discipline involved in staying focused and regularly self-policing practices to ensure that there is consistency. High productivity is a critical success factor for achieving competitiveness. Revisit your strategy for the new year and see what could be changed to hone focus and consistency in your business.