The keytoproductivity 1273


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

The keytoproductivity 1273

  1. 1. The Key to Productivity People ProductivityA step by step guide to improve workplace productivity By Peter Mitchell Published by The Learning Company Publishing Group. P O Box 20-132 Hamilton New Zealand Copyright 2009 E-mail
  2. 2. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. This is NOT a free e-bookThe purchase of this e-book entitles supplier to keep one copy on hisor her computer and to print out one copy only.Printing out more than one copy or distributing it electronically isprohibited by international and USA copyright laws and treaties andwould subject the purchaser to penalties of up to $100,000 per copydistributed.Legal NoticeThis e-book is designed to provide helpful and useful advice regarding thesubject matters covered. However, it is understood that the author and thedistributor do not engage in the practice of providing legal or professional adviceand that the laws and regulations governing the subjects covered in this e-bookmay vary from state to state, country to country, and jurisdiction to jurisdiction.It is also understood that the author and any distributors of this e-bookspecifically disclaim any liability that is incurred in the US, application, allrecommendations of this e-book. The author and distributors of this e-bookmake no representations, warranties or claims whatsoever regarding theaccuracy, effectiveness, legality or completeness of the information included inthis e-book, including any and all links, references, content, andrecommendations therein. The author and distributor of this e-book shall in noway be held liable to any loss or other damages, including not limited to special,incidental, consequential, accidental, or other damages. As always, legal,professional, tax, accounting, and any other forms of advice should be soughtfrom the professional and is in no way implied in this e-book. Any and all linksand recommendations are for instructional and informational purposes only andare not warranted or guaranteed for accuracy, content, reliability, or reputation,or any other expressed or implied purpose. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 2 For more learning resources, visit:
  3. 3. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. /root/convert/jodconverter-tomcat- 2.2.0/temp/document483210.doc ContentsChapter Title Author’s note 4 How to Use This Book 5 1 Introduction 6 2 Understanding the Basis of Productivity 9 3 Your Productivity Questionnaire 14 4 Some Typical Barriers to Productivity 18 5 Take a Break—Read a Short Story 24 6 12 Common Symptoms of Low Productivity 25 7 Plan to Succeed with your Strategy and Tactics 29 8 Measure and Record Where you are. 33 9 Evaluate Your Leadership Resources and Capabilities. 37 10 Set Mutually Agreed on Expectations 44 11 Set Targets and Milestones 48 12 Provide Clear and Meaningful Feedback 50 13 Leadership Skills, one of the keys to Improving Productivity 56 14 Increasing Productivity Through People 61 15 Demotivation, Disincentives and Discouragement. 65 16 Managing Performance. 74 17 Managing the Business of Change 79 18 The Practical Science of Behaviour 87 19 Feedback Guidelines 91 20 A Plan for Easily Improving methods 96 21 Humour and Happiness Improves Workplace Productivity 99 22 The Magic Process of Motivation 105 23 How to Reduce Absenteeism 110 24 Delegation, Development and Personal Productivity. 113 25 Putting it all together. A Plan to Lift Workplace Productivity 121Appendix 1 An explanation of Productivity 126Appendix 2 Business Productivity Case Study 128Appendix 3 Personal Productivity Case Study 133 © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 3 For more learning resources, visit:
  4. 4. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comAuthor’s noteWe all know WHAT to do to win a lottery. Just pick the right numbers and berich for life. The problem is that we don’t know HOW to do it.This is the problem that I find with so many books on business. They tell youWHAT to do but not HOW to do it.My approach to this book is to give the reader a selection of strategies and tacticsto increase the productivity of their business and explain HOW to do it in apractical way. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 4 For more learning resources, visit:
  5. 5. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comHow to Use This BookTo get the best results from this book, I suggest you follow the process outlinedbelow.Firstly, read the book at your normal reading speed and use a pencil or pen tounderline key passages and make notes to yourself in the margins. If you comeacross something which you want to remember, either put a sticker on the pageor write the page number in the front of the book.Once you have finished the book, take a few minutes every day, and flickthrough the pages, and re-read the key points that you have marked. The reasonfor this repetition is that principles are easier to apply when they are familiar andfixed in your subconscious mind.After several repetitions, write down an action plan for your productivityimprovement. Make sure that when writing your action plan you include atimeframe.At this stage you can also write down a training module to show others how toimprove productivity or you can list topics from the book to coach othermanagers in the process of productivity improvement. Remember, you will needto persuade your supervisors to accept the steps of productivity improvementbefore introducing any changes. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 5 For more learning resources, visit:
  6. 6. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. Chapter 1 IntroductionThe traditional methods of increasing workplace productivity usually requirecapital outlay on machinery and the installation of systems. However, the key toimproving productivity is the people in the business.This book has been written specifically to help businesses lift their productivitythrough their people. These enterprises can be any sized businesses, not-for-profit organisations and government departments. This is without a largeinvestment in capital expenditure on new machinery or the introduction of morecomplex systems.In this book I have focussed on the people side of the equation. The reason isquite simple: if you have staff who are not very productive, the addition of moresophisticated equipment will not necessarily improve the situation. On the otherhand, if you maximise productivity with what you have at present, anysubsequent investment in machinery will be well rewarded in terms of greaterproductivity.The key is the people and their performance.Regrettably, the most cost effective source of extra productivity—people, isnormally ignored. The strategies and tactics offered in this book provide low orno cost solutions to improving productivity.The lack of productivity costs money and when costs are under threat, then so toare jobs and businesses. Whatever the industry, the need to improveproductivity is the ultimate goal. This is true today, as it was yesterday and as itwill be tomorrow.Millions of dollars are wasted each and every day in organizations, through lackof awareness of this need to constantly improve productivity.Most of the waste can be stopped. A concerted effort at all levels, management,supervision and “shop floor” will produce results. Positive, active co-operationby all levels is the surest way of producing results.The methods shown here in this book are applicable to manual work, clericalwork and the service industries. The benefits of improving productivity are notalways obvious. Certainly, there is a financial benefit for the bottom line of thebusiness but there are less obvious benefits for the employees. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 6 For more learning resources, visit:
  7. 7. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comMany employees are not included in setting meaningful targets. So, withoutmutual expectations they are not motivated to perform. On top of this, mostemployees don’t receive relevant feedback about their efforts on a regular andfrequent basis. By not receiving feedback they are unable to adjust theirperformance.Given the situation, it is little wonder that workplace productivity is low.This book will give you a step-by-step process to follow so that your workplaceproductivity can steadily grow. It has been designed as a “how-to-do-book” aswell as a “what-to-do-book.”The majority of managers and leaders know what to do but often don’t knowhow to do it. In this book we address that problem.It is clear that to achieve behavioural change in the workplace so thatproductivity levels are lifted, it must be done with the full co-operation of thestaff. Often, the installation of change is carried out in the face of very stiffresistance. The outcomes are minimal. We need to change our style ofmanagement and leadership to one that nurtures change rather than prescribes itor imposes it.This means that the person in the leadership position of the business holds thekey to increased productivity. It is this person who can initiate change,encourage others to follow, lead people to perform to a higher level, harness theskill and experience of their staff and engage their brains.In the past we seem to have shied away from a cooperative approach and used aprescriptive approach because, as leaders, we didn’t want to be seen as beingweak.From what I’ve seen during the last 35 years, the cooperative approach isdefinitely more difficult than the prescriptive approach but so much moreeffective and worthwhile.In small and medium sized businesses, great results can be achieved by focussingthe productivity effort on one section of the staff. The most logical area topinpoint is the front line leaders, the team leaders or supervisors.Through a process of careful training, mentoring and coaching, substantialproductivity gains can be achieved.By consistently thinking, acting, and speaking productivity, the leader will beextremely effective in getting the message across and understood. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 7 For more learning resources, visit:
  8. 8. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comThe Basis of Productivity ImprovementTo improve productivity levels there are a small number of basic principles thatapply in all cases.No organisation is too small or too large to benefit from the beneficial results ofproductivity improvement. It doesn’t matter if it is in the public or privatesector, the benefits are still available.Productivity planning should involve as many employees as possible. This is sothat as many people can feel involved and then they will feel that the success ofthe productivity program is partly dependent on them.A productivity program should be on-going because it can never be completed.It should be a dynamic part of the business at all levels.In setting the goals, care must be exercised to ensure that the achievement of thegoal is possible. That control can be exercised. Too many times the goals are setout of reach of the employees which leads to a lack of participation and an earlywithdrawal of commitment by the staff.Every cost reduction tool can be used.Improving methods can have a profound effect on productivity and the bestpeople to design new methods are the people doing the job.Individual levels of productivity should be measured and the employee be giventraining and on-the-job coaching to lift their personal productivity. They shouldreceive feedback on their performance.Often there is a lot more said than done about productivity. There is also a lackof planning and the lack of a concerted, consistent effort applied to the situation.Improving productivity is the real key to national prosperity contributing to arising standard of living.No business can ignore the implications of increasing productivity.Productivity improvement requires imagination, enthusiasm, flexibility and asingle minded, intelligent approach.Productivity improvement is like gravity; it starts at the top and worksdownwards through the business. Not the other way round. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 8 For more learning resources, visit:
  9. 9. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. Chapter 2 Understanding the Basis of ProductivityThere are several common misunderstandings about productivity. Quitefrequently, productivity and production are treated as the same thing.Productivity is not production. It is not just pushing products out of theassembly line as fast as possible without any consideration for quality, safety,and cost.In some businesses productivity and performance are treated as the same. Theyare not the same although performance can have an effect on productivity.Performance relates to how close we come to meeting a target such as a certainquantity or quality of output.The term productivity means different things to different people—more outputwhile maintaining costs; doing the right thing; working smarter and not harder;automating the operation to get more and faster output; and so on.Production is an output but productivity is determined by the inputs used togain that outputProduction relates just to output, is normally expressed as production volumeand measured in terms of units. For instance, when a manufacturer producesitems at the rate of 100,000 units per year, the production volume is 100,000 units.On the other hand, productivity is the ratio between output and input. It clearlyshows us the relationship between input and output. This relationship isexpressed as:Productivity = Input divided by outputThere are three elements in productivity. The input, conversion and output.Input is the resources used in the process. Conversion is the process of changinginput to the output. This is where productivity occurs and it is this area wherepeople and machinery convert the input resources to the output. (For a furtherexplanation see Appendix 1)It is difficult to compare productivity levels in organisations unless the inputs arethe same and the productivity is expressed in the same way such as items perhour or week. It is relatively rare to find two businesses making the sameproduct using the same machinery and equipment to directly compareproductivity levels. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 9 For more learning resources, visit:
  10. 10. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comFor the sake of this explanation and to assist understanding, we will use thefollowing examples.For example, if 10 people worked at the rate of 8 hours per day for 5 days, theycan produce 10,000 items. What is their productivity?Input is the number of hours worked in this example,10 people x 5 days x 8 hrs/day = 400 hoursOutput = 10,000 itemsOutput = 10,000Input 400Productivity= 25 items per hourA different business that was smaller with only four people, with exactly thesame equipment and raw material worked a nine hour day. They produced 5,800items per week.Their productivity would be 4 people x 5 days x 9 hours/day = 180 hoursOutput = 5,800 itemsInput = 180Productivity = 32 items per hour.The productivity of the second business was 28% higher than the first business.In this case there may be many other factors that enabled the second business tohave higher levels of productivity.Efficiency and Effectiveness.The two vital aspects of productivity are efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiencyrefers to how well the various inputs are combined or a job is done.For example, if there are two clerks working in an insurance company dealingwith claims. They both work the same number of hours and they are in the samedepartment, and seated next to each other. On the outside, they look like theyare doing the same things. However, one of them completes more claims thanthe other.Although the input (number of hours, equipment, claims, etc.) is the same in bothcases, the output of one clerk seems to be higher than the other in a given numberof hours. The difference might have been due to any number of factors. Forexample, they may include motivation, job knowledge, training or the methodsused in performing the job. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 10 For more learning resources, visit:
  11. 11. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comIn this case it was found that clerk Y planned and organised the work, puttingtime and effort to better use. The efficiency of clerk Y was greater than that ofclerk Z who had completed less work. Better utilisation of time and effort madepossible by planning and organising probably led to greater effectiveness, andclerk Y was able to complete more claims than clerk Z.Productivity is how well various resources (inputs) are brought together and putinto use for achieving special goals or results. Productivity is the key toprofitability. It is doing things better and working smarter, not just harder.To do so, we have to tap the reservoir of knowledge, creativity and productivityavailable from our workforce through education, training, motivation,technology and group effort. The challenge is how to secure the maximumpossible improvement in performance or results while using the minimumpossible resources.With proper planning and motivation, the job of productivity growth can beachieved. However, certain facts have to be borne in mind when launching theproductivity improvement programme.The productivity growth is more likely to be achieved if the objectives arediscussed with the employees and they are able to contribute their ideas. Let ussay, the objective is: “Reduce rework.” The employees must know and befamiliar with the following information: • The current rework rate. • The expected reduction targets. • The reasons for the current rework rate. • The methods to improve the rate.They also need to be aware that they have the opportunity to voice their opinionson how to improve the situation.By making periodic checks, the supervisors can make sure whether their teammembers understand the objectives and make efforts to accomplish them.If the expected results can be measured in tangible terms, productivity is morelikely to improve. Using the same example, let’s say that the current rework iscosting the business about $65,000 a year. The objective can be stated in tangibleterms as: “Reduce rework cost from $65,000.” © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 11 For more learning resources, visit:
  12. 12. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comTo be successful, there has to be a clear understanding of mutual benefitsbetween the business and the staff. The motivation to improve is greatlyenhanced when the employer and the employees are working towards commongoals with mutual expectations.Employees may be wondering how they are going to benefit from the reductionof the cost of rework. So, the employer may link an incentive to theaccomplishment of the objective. For instance, a portion of the savings from thereduced costs may be given to the employees as bonus or a proportion of thesavings may be used to fund time off from work.This way, the employer and employees share the benefits. This sort of approachmust be treated with utmost caution because of the many pitfalls that can occur.Only when there is ample opportunity for employees to participate in and beresponsible for productivity objectives, will they accept the productivity growthseriously.For instance, before setting the productivity objective for rework, the employeesinvolved with rework should be consulted as to the reasons for rework, themethods to be employed in reducing rework, and the setting of realistic targets.Since these suggestions come from them, they may become more involved andcommitted to the objectives. They will be ready to undertake the responsibilitywith enthusiasm. The whole concept of “waste reduction” normally findssupport from most people, so there is already something to build on.When a time frame is set for achieving the productivity objectives, it enhances thepositive outcome. Using the same example of “Reduce rework”, a time framecan be linked to it in this way: reduce rework cost in the next three months from$65,000 to $40,000, in the next six months to $30,000 and in a year to the objectiveof $20,000.The quality aspect should not be sacrificed for quantity. Quantity at the expenseof quality will be short-lived. If the objective is to reduce rework from 2000 to1000 units in a year, the focus should not be just on the number to be reduced.Employees must make sure that the reworked items do not come back for furtherrework. The focus should be on reducing the quantity of rework and at the sametime maintaining the quality of workmanship.Accountability for productivity is more likely to be accepted when employees areheld responsible for the productivity objectives. Coupled with this responsibilityis the involvement in setting the objectives. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 12 For more learning resources, visit:
  13. 13. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comThe road to higher productivity must start with the leadership team. Staff willrespond when they see for themselves that the their leaders are actuallyconsistently practising what they are preaching. Improving productivity is aleadership skill.At this moment, just take a bit of time and answer these questions.How much is rework costing your business? • What proportion of work do you have to re-do? • How much time does this take? • What are the labour costs associated with this rework? • What are the material costs associated with this rework? • What are the hidden costs of your rework? (The hidden costs include frustration created amongst the staff, stopping and starting costs, the lack of effort applied when a job has to be done again.) • What are the opportunity costs associated with this rework? (Opportunity costs in this case is the revenue, that you would have received if you were working on another profitable job instead)Add all these costs up and decide whether or not you need to reduce the amountof rework which is currently happening in your business.It may sound a bit brutal, but its true. Your job in leadership is to create anenvironment where your people get what they want and you get what you want.The outcome of this process is that the right things are achieved by people whoare happy. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 13 For more learning resources, visit:
  14. 14. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. Chapter 3 Your Productivity Questionnaire.Fill in this questionnaire honestly and add up your total. Remember that this isnot a deep scientific survey but will give you some food for thought. Take notethat if you don’t know the answer to any of the questions you lose 4 points fromyour score.Does your business invest in developing leadership skills?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDoes your business invest in method and process improvement?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDo your managers involve staff in decision-making?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDo your managers have the right mix of experience and knowledge?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDo your staff have the right mix of experience and knowledge?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaAre the methods and systems used in your conversion process appropriate andup-to-date?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDo your managers ask staff for ideas on method and process improvement? © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 14 For more learning resources, visit:
  15. 15. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.com5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDo your managers actually know what their staff think about the business?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaIs the machinery used in your conversion process up-to-date and effective?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDo all employees receive comprehensive, practical and effective training?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaIs your business and your staff receptive to change?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDo all your managers have an effective leadership style?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaAre the systems used in your conversion process effective?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDo all employees know how their performance is measured?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDo all employees understand the goals of the business? © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 15 For more learning resources, visit:
  16. 16. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.com5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDo all employees receive appropriate, regular feedback on performance?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDo all employees receive feedback from customers?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaAre all the materials used in your process completely suitable for the endproduct?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDo all employees participate in regular briefing sessions?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDo you have a training and development plan for each staff member?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No IdeaDo all your employees receive training and on-the-job coaching to improve theirproductivity?5 3 1 0 -4Constantly Sometimes Hardly Ever Never No Idea © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 16 For more learning resources, visit:
  17. 17. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comResults of the informal and not very scientific survey.Less than 30Hmmm! You have severe problems with productivity but have a hugeopportunity to improve the performance and profit of your business. The upsideis that there is plenty of room to dramatically increase your net profit and changethe way your staff feel about working for you. Your customers will be so happywhen you institute changes to increase your productivity. What would be theeffect on your business if your productivity increased by 10%?30 to 60All is not lost. You have a reasonable basis to work from. Again, there are clearopportunities to increase your net profit with only a few small changes. Makechanges as soon as possible otherwise your competition may fill the gap. Asyour productivity increases you might find that your marketing effort needs toincrease as a results of your increased output.60 to 90Your business is looking good. A few more small adjustments will make youmore profit, keep your customers happy as well as your bank and shareholders.This will ultimately reduce your costs so that you can expand your customerbase.Over 90Well done! Please get in contact with me so I can learn about your success andwrite it up to include as a case study in the next edition of this book. Think aboutcapitalising on your success by acting as a mentor for other business ownersstarting with your suppliers or customers.How to use your results.Look at your scores—select all the questions where you scored less than three.One by one, starting with the lowest score, install workplace change to lift yourranking. In six month’s time, fill in the questionnaire again. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 17 For more learning resources, visit:
  18. 18. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. Chapter 4 Some Barriers to Workplace Productivity.One of the important inputs to productivity is time. However, some days itseems like there is a conspiracy to steal your time from you. The Time Banditsseem to work like crazy some days and the day seems like it is frittered awaywith interruptions.Time is our most finite resource and interruptions cause us to lose ourmomentum. Just like your car engine has to work harder to accelerate from acomplete stop, you have the same situation with your work when you lose yourmomentum because of an interruption and then have to start again.Although interruptions are a normal part of work life, limiting socialinterruptions is often crucial in enabling us to maintain our momentum forlonger periods.Productivity in some work environments depends on being able to juggle a lot oflittle details in short-term memory all at once. Any type of interruption can causethese details to be lost. When you resume work, you can’t remember the detailsand have to keep looking them up which slows you down a lot until you get backup to speed. This is rework, mental rework. And like physical rework it comeswith a considerable loss.Here are some factors that curtail our productivity. They are by no meansexhaustive or comprehensive but serve as examples only.Housekeeping.Poor housekeeping in the office or workshop environment is a significant causeof low productivity. The difficulty in finding documents or tools means that theflow of work is disrupted. Furthermore, the individual can feel frustratedbecause of the general untidiness in which they are working.It is clear that an orderly workplace contributes to productivity and quality.There are some individuals who thrive and perform in a perpetual mess.However, their presence and work methods can have a negative effect on thoseworking alongside.Efforts to improve housekeeping generally fail because of the method used forimprovement. It is far better to involve the people concerned and get them tocheck and evaluate the workplace housekeeping of other people who thenreciprocate. The alternative is to prescribe a housekeeping standard, have amighty cleanup and then repeat the process six weeks later. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 18 For more learning resources, visit:
  19. 19. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comThe inability to find a document or a tool can be classed as an interruption. Theeffect of interruptions on work productivity has been well researched and theresults are quite alarming.Interruptions.The average office worker is interrupted 73 times a day. The average manager isinterrupted every eight minutes. Interruptions include telephone calls, incominge-mail messages, interruptions by colleagues and crises. Research tells us it takes20 to 30 minutes to get back to the level of concentration that we were at prior tothe disruption. Of course, we cannot and would not want to eliminate allinterruptions but we can reduce them and take control of our time andmomentum more effectively.We know from our own experience that we do our best work when we are in the“zone.” This is when we are fully concentrating on our work and fully tuned outof our environment. We lose track of time and produce great work throughabsolute concentration.Getting into the “zone” is not easy. It seems to take about 20 to 30 minutes tostart working at maximum productivity. But if you’re tired or you’ve had a lot ofinterruptions during that day you just can’t get into the “zone.” When you lookat it like this, interruptions of any sort are an effective barrier to highproductivity.The other problem is that it is very easy to get pushed out of your “zone.” It onlytakes a question from a co-worker, a telephone call, an e-mail message or thedistraction of two people talking near your work area. Your overall productivitytakes a beating the more interruptions you get. Some days you don’t evenoperate in your “zone.”An interruption is nothing more than an unanticipated event. To put it inperspective, on average, we experienced one interruption every eight minutes orapproximately six to seven per hour. In an eight-hour day that totals aroundabout 50 to 60 interruptions. The average interruption takes approximately 5minutes. If you are receiving 50 interruptions in the day and each takes fiveminutes, that totals 250 minutes, or just over four hours out of eight. About 50%of your workday.Given the figures above, it is no wonder that some days you just don’t seem tomake any progress at all. You go home at the end of the day exhausted andpuzzled why progress has been so slow and results so small. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 19 For more learning resources, visit:
  20. 20. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comPlanning and Organisation.Poor planning and poor leadership is another major contributor to lowproductivity. This is shown by managers and supervisors who continuallychange the priorities of tasks.Again, research is shown that a person doing a task mentally assesses the time itwill take to complete. When halfway through that task the manager orsupervisor says, “Okay stop what you doing and start this job because it is moreurgent,” the new task will take a long time to be started. When that new task hasbeen completed, it will take typically twice as long for the old task to be restarted.This is a complete disruption of the person’s momentum and if it happens oftenenough it will frustrate and lower morale. The result will be even lower levels ofproductivity and higher levels of resentment. In many cases the person will noteven try to get into the “zone” therefore limiting their opportunity to beproductive.When the work is planned and the people are involved in the planning andorganisation, there is a natural lift in productivity.To sum up, every interruption loses at least five minutes plus the amount of timeit takes to get back to maximum productivity. Unfortunately, technology withcellphones, pagers and e-mails have all conspired to interrupt us and slow downour productivity. This is in addition to the social interruptions.The solutions are relatively simple but require a certain amount of self-discipline.Firstly, deal with the technology by making it silent and allocate a particular partof time during the day to deal with all messages. Better still, delegate theinterruptions to a receptionist or PA. Secondly, if you need uninterrupted time towork in your “zone,” put a flag on your workstation or machine to inform yourco-workers that you do not want any social interruptions.To put this in perspective, try keeping a daily log of all your interruptions andwhere they come from. Are they from the phone? Are they from people thatwant to chat with you? Are they from people who want to ask questions? Arethey from customers? Where do all these interruptions come from? Make surethat when you log these interruptions that you put down the amount of time thatyou lose.Once you have completed this exercise you will be surprised at two things.Firstly the number of interruptions and secondly, the amount of time that hasbeen sucked out of your day. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 20 For more learning resources, visit:
  21. 21. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comOnce you know the source of the interruptions you can organise your work sothat these can be controlled. Obviously, you’re going to get some interruptionsduring the day and they cannot be avoided. Your control should be exercisedover those interruptions that are unnecessary.You’ll be surprised how pleasant your working day becomes when you haveeliminated the unnecessary interruptions. Your personal productivity will soar.Our Brains are Different.(This is true although not politically correct)There is another factor that compounds the problem of disruption to a person’smomentum and that is gender.All available research agrees that men’s brains are compartmentalised. The malebrain is generally set up to concentrate on one specific task at a time. This meansthat interruptions are not handled very well.In comparison, the female brain is able to cope with several tasks at once becausethere is a much more comprehensive series of links between the right and lefthemispheres of the brain. An interruption is handled as a normal part of theirbrain activity as they can do many different things at the same time. Theirmomentum is not adversely affected for very long.The male brain, on the other hand, has relatively few connections between thehemispheres and generally, is only able to deal with one task at a time. Thismeans that they focus entirely on the job at hand. When they are interrupted,they have to totally stop focussing on the current job and start to focus on thecause of the interruption. This means that all momentum ceases until they re-focus on the original job. The process can take up to 20 minutes!This is the prime reason why some men are not always very productive workingin environments such as open-plan offices because of interruptions anddistractions. It also explains why most men are not very good at some work thathas interruptions as part of the job. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 21 For more learning resources, visit:
  22. 22. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comNotes on Keeping an Interruption LogFor one week keep a log of your interruptions.Record each interruption as the day progresses.Every time your attention shifts from one thing to another, make a note of thediverting activity, no matter how trivial. This means that you will record allinterruptions, noting their sources and reasons. Give as much detail as possible.Make a note on how much time you spent on each item. Set a priority for everysingle item.At the end of the day you will be able to see what proportion of your time wasspent on high priority work.In the "Comments" column, record your ideas on how you might have donethings better. Write these comments as you go along. This reduces the chance ofoverlooking details.Keep the book close at hand. When you answer the phone, write down thephone call. When someone pokes their head to make a comment or pass oninformation, reach over and jot it down on the log sheet.Use abbreviations and shortcuts.Show people by their initials.Indicate interruptions with a big “X”.For incoming phone calls, use a letter “C” with an arrow pointing to the “C” andan arrow pointing away from it for your outgoing calls.Each day go over the following points. Every time you shift your attention - logit.Be specific. If you note a ten minute block as “Phone calls” you will not be ableto tell if they were necessary or time wasters.Record EverythingDo not skip over socialising, brief interruptions because they seem minor.You are trying to determine how much of your Total time is frittered away insuch “minor” activities.Log your time As You Go. Do not try to catch up at the end of the day. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 22 For more learning resources, visit:
  23. 23. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. Interruption Log DATE___________Priorities for evaluating logged interruptions.1 = Important and urgent 3 = Routine2 = Important 4 = WastedCodeC = Phone call in or out. D = could be delegated X = InterruptionTime Activity Time Priority Comments used © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 23 For more learning resources, visit:
  24. 24. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. Chapter 5 Take a BreakTake a break and read this modern parable on leadership because leadership isone of the most important ingredients in the mix of strategies to improveproductivity.A Modern Parable On LeadershipA business owner once asked a wise man for help in improving an unprofitablebusiness. The wise man wrote a charm on a piece of paper and sealed it in a boxwhich he gave to the business owner. “Take this box to every worker in yourbusiness every day for a year,” he told him.The business owner did so. In the morning he carried it into the store and askedthe Stores Supervisor about the Quality Control on Inwards Goods.Later, when he carried it into the production area he saw that the ProductionManager was in his office reading the newspaper. They discussed the need to bevisible on the factory floor.During the afternoon he carried it into the Engineering Shop and found theEngineering Supervisor trying to balance his budget. He helped him by showingan easier way.Every day, as he took the box around his business, he found things to discusswith the staff and help them to improve their performance.At the end of the year he returned to the wise man. “Let me keep the magiccharm for another year,” he begged. “My business has been a hundred timesmore profitable this year than ever before because my people are happy.”The wise man smiled and he took the box, “I’ll give you the charm itself,” hesaid.He broke the seal, lifted out the piece of paper and handed it to the businessowner. On it was written:“You cannot be a leader by being invisible Your results are obtainedthrough your People. By coaching your People, you are treating themwith respect and allowing them to grow and develop. Constant personalcommunication with your People will help them to develop.”Reflect on the message of the parable and compare yourself and your business. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 24 For more learning resources, visit:
  25. 25. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. Chapter 6 Twelve Common Symptoms of Productivity ProblemsConsider these twelve symptoms of productivity problems. Ask yourself if theyexist in your workplace. Once you have done that, work out how to remove thecauses of these symptoms. It is probably best to start with the one that will havethe greatest effect if it is fixed or reduced.1) Variable QualityWhen quality is not consistent and predictable it is likely that it is a symptom of aproductivity problem. Sometimes, this is linked to either a lack of training, orineffective training. Other times it is due to variations in components ormaterials When the product quality is not consistent the amount of rework orrejects will climb and the situation will reduce profit as productivity declines.2) Poor WorkflowPoor workflow shows itself through bottlenecks on one hand and a lack of workon the other. These two extremes contribute to low productivity because there isnot a consistent flow of work. It is easy to see this in production lines but not soevident in administrative or service work. However, it exists frequently and is amajor cause of lower profits. The best people to identify poor workflowsituations and recommend solutions are the people doing the job.3) High Rework and High Rejects.It is impossible to maximise profits when rework and reject levels are high.When the cost of labour is added to the cost of materials any product which hasto be rejected or reworked represents a loss to the business. This is an area whereit is extremely unprofitable to have a high tolerance for rejects and rework. Thefinancial losses created through rework is considerable because of the lostopportunity to make a profit as well as the inevitable losses in material.Any organisation should work hard to minimise these losses because thissituation also contributes to low morale and frustration. Both of thesedemotivators reduce people productivity.4) Machine and Equipment DowntimeProfits cannot be maximised when there is preventable machine and equipmentdowntime. Underlying causes could involve operator training, maintenance,poor leadership or that the machinery and equipment needs replacement.Constant breakdowns produce a powerful negative effect on the workforce. Theconstant stop/start alone reduces productivity because of interruptions toworkflow. Again, another cause of low morale and frustration. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 25 For more learning resources, visit:
  26. 26. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.com5) Low Discretionary EffortDiscretionary Effort is that extra capacity that we all possess. Poor leadershipwill reduce our discretionary effort, whereas effective leadership will motivate usto produce our highest level of Discretionary Effort. Any strategy to increasediscretionary effort should be considered and then installed.Situations such as constant breakdowns and poor workflow will also have anegative effect on our discretionary effort because they are interruptions.6) Lack of Clear Performance Expectations.Most people in the workplace often have no idea of what is expected of them.Discussions about performance expectations are rare and many employees areunaware of how their performance is measured.7) Lack of FeedbackWe all need feedback because without it we have no idea of our progress towardsstandards. As human beings we need to know how we are getting along. Whenwe are not told, we believe that we are doing a good job. For a variety of reasons,this is often not the case. The absence of feedback in the workplace makes thework pointless. We all need a constant supply of credible feedback andencouragement to keep us engaged in our work.8) Lack of RecognitionMany managers believe that giving positive reinforcement to staff will encouragethem to seek increases in pay. Other managers believe that giving positivereinforcement will give staff swollen heads and they will have an inflated beliefof their value to the organisation. When people work and apply effort to theirwork they will often reduce their effort if they don’t receive any recognition fortheir efforts. When recognition or praise is missing in the workplace, it is apotent factor in severely reducing motivation and productivity.9) Lack of MeasurementThis is closely linked to a lack of feedback. Public measurements of team orindividual performances provide feedback, motivation, trends and results. Ifresults are not measured and displayed they cannot be used as a leadership tool.Any changes cannot be evaluated unless there is measurement.10) Unsafe Work EnvironmentAn unsafe work environment provides a powerful incentive not to be productive.It has a strong morale lowering effect as the employees believe that theorganisation doesn’t care enough about them to keep them safe. This situationalso has the effect of lowering productivity when people get injured at work © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 26 For more learning resources, visit:
  27. 27. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.combecause the incident will drain all discretionary effort for some time as peoplethink, “That could have been me.”11) A Lack of Performance StandardsThis is linked to Lack of Clear Performance Expectations. In all aspects of theworkplace there should be a set of performance standards that are discussed withthe staff and agreed on as a bare minimum. They should not be prescribed butrather set in a consultative fashion with agreed consequences for breaching them.12) Poor Leadership.This is one of the keys to productivity. All organisations that have high levels ofproductivity share the common factor of better than average leadership at nearlyevery level. Poor leadership is the most common cause of low productivity andalso one of the most difficult to fix. The problem lies in the fact that thedevelopment of good leadership skills takes time because it is not an easyprocess.Yes, there are leadership programs but very rarely do they change behaviour inthe workplace. Mostly, they are training events lasting two days and by theirvery nature cannot develop leadership skills. Most people require coaching on-the-job to develop their leadership ability. There are leadership adventureprograms that feature abseiling, rock climbing and activities like kayaking, butthere is little scientific evidence that they create a change in behaviour that leadsto improved leadership skills back at work.Management Responsibility for ProductivityEvery one of these twelve symptoms of productivity problems can be eliminatedor improved by the people who are leaders within the business. It could be saidthat organisations don’t have productivity problems, they have leadership andmanagement problems.At first look, this may be a daunting list of things that need fixing or changing.The sound advice is to single out the most important and fix that one beforemoving on to the next.All the solutions are included in this book.Have a clear objectiveFirstly, it is necessary to set a clear objective with the person or people concerned.For example, if these principles are to be applied to a machine then the operatormust be aware and agree to the objective. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 27 For more learning resources, visit:
  28. 28. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comA typical objective may be, ”To keep the machine running for a total of sevenhours per working day.” However, this could be expressed in the form of apercentage. “To run the machine for 85% of the working day.”This objective can be illustrated as a straight line on a graph. The actual hours orpercentages can be plotted on a daily basis by the operator. This sort of feedbackshows the operator straight away how they are performing in relation to themutual objective that has been agreed.Keep the end in mindSecondly, the operator has to learn that every task which does not contribute tothe objective has the result of preventing or delaying the achievement of thetarget. The best way to train the operator, is to work with them. Ask them whatthe consequences are if they perform a certain low priority task. Ask them if it isgoing to contribute to their objective of keeping the machine running. One of themost important lessons for them to learn is that, “lost time can not be caught up,it is lost for ever.”Thinking aheadThirdly, the operator has to learn to think ahead. Generally speaking, thinkingahead for the next three or four tasks will be sufficient under normalcircumstances. There will be occasions when it is necessary to plan may be fiveto eight tasks ahead. Whilst they are thinking ahead, they must remember theirnumber one priority which is to keep the machine running.Coaching on-the-jobWorking with the operator enables the trainer to ask questions rather thaninstruct or tell the person what to do. By constantly asking questions theoperator will learn to think for themselves. If the trainer tells the operator whatto do all the time, the operator will be unable to think for themselves and theirperformance will drop as soon as the trainer is not there. Think about askingquestions that “ lead the person to discover.” When the trainer is not there, theoperator can still go through the same thinking process. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 28 For more learning resources, visit:
  29. 29. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. Chapter 7 Plan to Succeed with your strategies and tacticsIt is essential to plan your strategy and tactics prior to starting to improve yourbusiness productivity because it gives direction and something to modify if youneed to change halfway through. If you write a plan, circulate the information soyour team can have input to it if you. Again, including your team and allowingthem to contribute to the plan will give them some psychological ownership ofthe success of the program.Just remember, your program will be unsuccessful if you don’t win the co-operation of your team. Inclusion in the design of the program will contribute tothe successful outcome.Let us have a look at an actual program that was installed in a small engineeringshop that specialised in jobbing work, mostly repairs to the heavy machinery.There were thirty three staff employed including five apprentices and twosupervisors.The first thing that the manager did, was to measure where they were and lookfor opportunities for improvement. Then he examined the business to find outwhat barriers existed to improving productivity.When he analysed the current situation, he discovered that unplanned absenceswere running at about 13% of available time. Secondly, in spite of the heavy andconsistent workload, chargeable hours averaged only 75% of the available hours.Having discovered these opportunities, the manager decided to fix these first.Initially, he met with his staff and explained that he wanted to improveproductivity with their help.He said that attendance was not very good and that they couldn’t be productiveif they were absent. He went on to say that the objective was not to work harderbut smarter.He asked if it was fair and reasonable to expect a better attendance and they allagreed. He said that he would be closely monitoring attendance in the futureand that there would be some fairly simple ground rules installed in conjunctionwith the staff members.At the next meeting with his staff the following day, he explained that these dailybriefing meetings would become a regular feature of the business. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 29 For more learning resources, visit:
  30. 30. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comNext, he looked at his own leadership qualities and the leadership qualities of hissupervisors. He realised that he needed help in this area, so he enrolled on apractical leadership training course after considerable research.He was looking for a course which was totally practical and included coachingon-the-job. He had been on other leadership courses but they only dealt with thetheory and not the practical aspects of leadership.Over the next three weeks, he went through the process of establishing mutualexpectations with his team. When this was complete, everyone was aware ofwhat was expected of them and how their jobs were measured.There had been complete agreement by everyone that the expectations were “fairand reasonable.” At this stage, he noticed that the amount of chargeable hourswas starting to climb and during the previous week had reached a level of 85% ofavailable hours.During the next morning meeting, he established some productivity goals andmilestones with the supervisors and staff which included attendance andchargeable hours.He got agreement from his team that they had the resources to achieve thesegoals and milestones and that the whole plan was flexible enough to be changedif necessary. He also got agreement from his team that they were in control ofreaching the targets.The manager mentioned that the chargeable hours had started to rise andcongratulated the team on the effort.Next, he negotiated with the staff to provide clear and meaningful feedback onprogress. Each member of staff would keep a graph of their chargeable hours, ona daily basis. Each week they would get new graphs to plot their hours.At the end of each week they would present their graphs to the group andexplain what the week had been like. At the end of the month, the chargeablehours would be added up and put on a graph which included the wholeworkshop.At this point, they would bring up any barriers or difficulties they hadencountered and it was the manager’s job to ensure that these barriers ordifficulties, where possible, did not occur in the future.Starting from the present day a graph of the attendance records of individualswould be posted on the notice board. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 30 For more learning resources, visit:
  31. 31. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comProductivity was measured by the input of their hours divided into the dollarvalue of work invoiced. This was also posted on the notice board in the form of aratio so that casual observers would not be given confidential information.This whole thing was backed up by discussion during the morning meetings sothat the group was given feedback on progress towards milestones.After the six weeks, the results were reviewed and the manager asked the teamwhether there were any changes which were necessary to maintain progress. Noone could come up with any changes that would improve the situation and theconsensus of opinion was that they continue as they were going.The first milestone was to improve attendance and this was achieved during thefirst month. Instead of averaging 13% of available time, it dropped to 2%. As aresult, the manager wrote to each member of staff thanking them for theircontribution to a positive change.Without doing much differently, chargeable hours had now climbed to 85%. Themanager arranged for a catered lunch to be delivered for each member of staff onFriday. This is arranged on the Wednesday prior and the team were told.The next step was to look at what had been achieved and to ask a question, “ Ifwe had to do this again what would we do differently?” The team came up withquite a number of suggestions and most of them were related to how they couldtake more responsibility, not just for results, but for tasks that could be delegated.This was the major theme of this step.The manager listened carefully and after the meeting had a session with hissupervisors to discuss delegations. They all went away to think about it so theycould come up with a plan to pass down more responsibility. The followingmorning they met again and formulated a plan which they presented to the team.The effect of this was that the level of trust was increased because the day aftermaking some suggestions that team was presented with a draft plan.The manager and the supervisors started on a series of internal training sessionsso that more tasks could be delegated down the line.At this stage, the team were approaching their end targets and the manager couldnot think of anything to reward the participants. Using his new-found skillsacquired during the practical leadership program, he asked the team.The answer he got surprised him, because he confessed that he wouldnt havethought of it. The consensus of the group was that a fitting reward for reaching © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 31 For more learning resources, visit:
  32. 32. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comthe targets would be to finish at midday on a Friday so they could have half aday off and still be paid.They dismissed the idea of more money because they were pretty well paidanyway and they all held a free half-day holiday as being valuable. Once thetargets have been met, the team asked what shall we try for next?One of the supervisors said that in conversation with a couple of staff membersthey agreed that it had been easy and that there had been no extra hard work toachieve the result. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 32 For more learning resources, visit:
  33. 33. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. Chapter 8 Measure and record where you are.This may sound obvious but this is not always done at the beginning of aproductivity improvement process.Whilst the outcome of this measurement may be distressing because of the lowlevels of productivity that are revealed, it is also an indicator of whatimprovement can be achieved. It is best to look at it from a positive point of viewso that it becomes a motivator rather than a demotivator.Productivity can be measured by individual machines or groups. The process ofmeasurement remains the same. outputProductivity = ----------- inputMake sure that your measurement period is over a reasonable time framewithout any abnormal highs because of large continuous production runs or lowsbecause of down time or an unusual run of rejects.This initial measurement is your starting place. It is the point from where yourbusiness is moving. This starting point enables your business to progress andrepresents where you have reached.At this time, it is wise to explain to your teams where you are an applaud theachievement to date.At the time of measuring your current levels of productivity, it is wise to firmlyestablish exactly the levels of your fixed and variable operating costs.This may create some surprises as well.At this stage, you will have established your current levels of productivity andthe level of your fixed and variable costs. You are now in a position to considerthe potential difference to your net profit with a change in productivity.Let’s use the following simple example and you can see how changes in yourbusiness productivity can positively affect your profit. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 33 For more learning resources, visit:
  34. 34. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. Revenue VARIABLE COSTS Cost of making products or supplying services 50 100 FIXED COSTS Cost of overheads 40 PROFIT 10Now Increase Productivity by 10% Revenue VARIABLE COSTS Cost of making products or supplying services FIXED COSTS Cost of overheads PROFITWhen you raise productivity by 10%, you effectively produce 10% more with thesame fixed costs. Variable costs may rise a little bit but they only seem to rise as aproportion of the increased productivity.Yes, you got it right! If you increase productivity by 10% your revenue will riseby 10%. Your variable costs may rise by 5% taking them up to 55. Your fixedcosts and your overheads will generally remain the same. This means that yourprofit will rise to 15, an increase of 50%!Most businesses would really appreciate a 50% increase in profit.This is a very simplistic view of the whole business equation, but at the least, itgives you some idea of the value of increasing productivity and the scope forincreasing profits. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 34 For more learning resources, visit:
  35. 35. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comNow you can see that increasing the productivity of your business by 10%produces great financial benefits and there may be scope to increase theproductivity by much more.Put your own figures in the equation and see the effect on your bottom line. Thismay provide powerful motivating forces for you to embark on a program toincrease your productivity.ExampleLet us use another example. You have a one chair men’s barbershop and therealways seem to be people waiting for a haircut.Your net profit is 15% of revenue.Over the year you average twenty haircuts every working day.Your shop is open 235 days every year.You make a conscious decision to use electric clippers more than scissors.After some experimentation you find that instead of twenty haircuts a day youstart to average twenty-one haircuts a day. (An increase of 5%)Using this simple example, here is the result.Before The Change Revenue VARIABLE COSTS Cost of making products or supplying services 55 100 FIXED COSTS Cost of overheads 30 PROFIT 15 © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 35 For more learning resources, visit:
  36. 36. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comAfter The Change Revenue VARIABLE COSTS Cost of making products or supplying services 55 105 FIXED COSTS Cost of overheads 30 PROFIT 20As you can see, the revenue has increased from 100 to 105 (5%). The costs haveremained the same although there may be some small increase in variable costsbecause of maintenance on the clippers. However, the big change has come inprofit. It has risen from 15 to 20, an increase of 33%.I don’t think the barber would have worked any harder but his bank balancewould have certainly improved.Using this example, you can see that for a small increase in productivity (5%)there is a substantial increase in net profit (33%). This is an example of the powerof productivity to positively affect your bottom line.Any business that is serious about making more profit should consider how toimprove their “People Productivity.” © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 36 For more learning resources, visit:
  37. 37. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. Chapter 9 Evaluate your Leadership Resources and Capabilities.In most work places there is a well defined initial level of authority, the first lineleader. Many of these people have received little training to fulfil what isgenerally regarded as one of the most critical jobs in the working environment.The leader is not only responsible for their own behaviour but also the behaviourof others.Their own high performance is normally the prime criterion for selecting themfor promotion. Which is similar to saying that the best player is the best coach.We are dealing with two unrelated skills in this situation. One, the skill in doingthe job and two, the skill in leadership.Nothing has prepared them for the difficult task of getting the very best fromother people. To cope with this situation they may adopt the style of theirprevious supervisor or copy the style of the manager.It is unlikely that copying other people will help them to be successful becausetheir staff will quickly realise that the person is playing a rôle and not being theirauthentic self.However, given a lack of training and coaching, the most common style whichprevails is the adversarial one. A win/lose mentality. “I am in charge and youwill do as I say.” This causes a negative effect on the individuals and theorganisation as well as having far-reaching effects on quality, safety andproduction.In reality, not much has changed between some leadership cultures found insome business today and slavery. Since the time of the galley slave system, greattechnological changes have taken place in our society, yet our human relationsskills seem to be as primitive as ever.True, the physical working conditions in today’s organisations are better thanthose on the galley, and the management techniques more subtle, yet the whip isstill there. You’ll still hear the term “slave driver” used when referring to leadersseemingly indifferent to the needs of their employees. The use of reward andpunishment to get people to do their job is still standard operating procedure.In many organisations, even the modern concept of “empowerment” is anotherform of manipulation to get employees to do what management want them to do. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 37 For more learning resources, visit:
  38. 38. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comThe waste of human talent inside today’s organisations is appalling. There is atremendous drain of human resources and capabilities. Some people get fed upand leave, while others decide to stay physically but have resigned mentally.Many do just what’s needed to get by, and still others simply mark the days untilthe weekend, their Christmas holidays, or their retirement. In manyorganisations, this situation is simply accepted as “That’s just the way it is, and itwon’t ever change” or “That’s just the nature of human beings; you can’t hire andkeep qualified staff anymore.”The products of the win/lose mentality creates an incredible waste in manyorganisations, but, it also points to a huge opportunity. Imagine an organisationthat suffers from this state of affairs and enjoys a modest success in today’smarketplace.What latent ability could be released with a change to a win/win method ofleadership? The untapped resources are tremendous. Have we forgotten that allorganisations obtain their results through the efforts of people?It requires well developed leadership skills to bring out the best in people.Unfortunately, businesses fail to make the connection between effectiveleadership and productivity.This leads to all sorts of attempts to increase productivity and profits whilstignoring what is a fairly obvious strategy of increasing leadership skills withinthe organisation.It is puzzling why more businesses don’t make the link between improvedleadership skills and improved productivity.Improved Leadership and ProductivityOne business that capitalised on the link between improved leadership andimproved productivity was a large shoe manufacture. They decided that anyonein a leadership position should be properly trained.Accordingly, they set up a practical leadership skills training programme whichwas conducted inside the organisation. All the participants were coached inleadership skills on-the-job to make the whole program relevant.It didn’t take long before the improved leadership skills created a 40% increase inproductivity.They invited to senior managers from a competitor to visit their manufacturingfacility. The visitors were surprised to find the premises old and dingy, with © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 38 For more learning resources, visit:
  39. 39. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comobsolete equipment and machinery. They found that the management systemswere unsophisticated and primitive.This company devoted their efforts to building a strong leadership base and thismore than compensated for the deficiencies in the plant, equipment and systems.However, the productivity was considerably higher than their competitors whohad the up-to-date facilities and the more modern machinery.This forward thinking business had realised that improved leadership skillscould overcome all sorts of other workplace deficiencies. They have also reapedthe reward by investing in their staff and as you can imagine, the return on thetraining investment was substantial.This clearly illustrates the rôle that good leadership plays in improvingproductivity. This business made a wise choice in selecting a trainingorganisation to carry out the leadership training.They knew that you cannot teach leadership in a class room or a training room.Leadership is a practical skill and does not translate well with academic methodsto changes in behaviour at work.Leadership is learned on the job and is best developed through guided practicethrough coaching. The best training is spread over several months complete withfollow up coaching in the person’s workplace.Small groups may seem to be extravagant but most learning will take place whenthere is plenty of engagement and discuss.Once the group size is greater than ten, learning and retention seems to drop off,making the training poor value. If there is no change in behaviour as a result oftraining, the training could be a total waste of money.Again, the key to improved productivity, is leadership. The solution is this.Improve the leadership, improve the productivity and this will result inimproved profit. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 39 For more learning resources, visit:
  40. 40. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comLeadership QuestionnaireFill out the following questionnaire and discover which part of your leadershipskills need a tune up. Be honest with yourself. • Please indicate the extent to which each of the following statements apply to you. • Think about the statement and rate yourself according to the five- point scale below. • You can always give this questionnaire to others to gain their perception of your leadership ability. 5 = Always. 4 = Often. 3 = Sometimes. 2 = Rarely. 1 = Never. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 40 For more learning resources, visit:
  41. 41. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. Leadership Questionnaire1 I always listen carefully to others. 123452 I always give people responsibility for tasks and projects. 123453 I always challenge the rules and standards of the business. 123454 I have a clear vision for the team which I communicate. 123455 I have clear understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. 123456 I always encourage ideas from the team. 123457 I always demonstrate my trust in others. 123458 I always anticipate and adapt to changing conditions. 123459 I always understand the effect I have on other people. 1234510 I always keep up-to-date and develop new skills as often as possible. 1234511 I always try to motivate and encourage others. 1234512 I always provide training to enable people to work effectively. 1234513 I always help others to manage change. 1234514 I always demonstrate a high level of commitment to my work. 1234515 I manage my priorities well. 1234516 I have developed a communication network within the business. 1234517 I always provide support for people when needed. 1234518 I always manage my stress levels well. 1234519 I always focus on achieving results. 1234520 I always have a positive feeling towards myself. 12345 Total ________ © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 41 For more learning resources, visit:
  42. 42. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comResults of another informal and not very scientific survey.Less than 30Oh dear! Ask yourself if you should be in a leadership position. If you decide toremain in a leadership job, the road ahead is steep and very hard work. You willhave to work hard to become a competent leader.Start by learning and practicing Emotional Intelligence. Get a trusted member ofstaff to rate you using this assessment to make sure that you have not been toosevere on yourself.Go back and re-assess your rating.31 to 60All is not lost. You have a basis to work from. Again, there are clearopportunities to increase your leadership skills with only a few changes. Start todevelop a greater skill level in all those things where you rated yourself at 1, 2, or3. Focus on learning more about Emotional Intelligence and rate yourself again insix months. Keep learning and never stop.61 to 80Your leadership is looking good. Work on those areas where you rated yourselfat three or less. You are well on the way to becoming a competent leader,however, there are areas for improvement.Over 81Well done! Train your replacement. Pass on your skill to other members of yourteam because you are obviously destined for higher things.Go back and re-assess your rating.Get a trusted member of staff to rate you using this assessment to make sure thatyou have not been too generous to yourself.How to use your results.Use this assessment for direction in personal change.Look at your scores—select all the questions where you scored less than three.One by one, starting with the lowest score, install personal changes to lift yourranking. In six month’s time, fill in the assessment again. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 42 For more learning resources, visit:
  43. 43. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. http://www.thekeytoproductivity.comLethal LeadershipThe late Gordon Lippitt, professor at George Brown University, after studyingthe subject of leadership for years, concluded:“Leadership is the worst defined, least understood, personal attributesometimes possessed by human beings.”Lethal Leadership Effective LeadershipStaff are seen as malleable, Staff are seen as self-directing,controllable, and expendable capable of assuming responsibility forcommodity by the leader their own decisions. The leader understands that results are obtained through people.Leader tells staff what to do and how Leader discusses ways of reachingto do it. objectives set with the staff.Leader employs strategies including Staff set their own realisticveiled threats to increase production,. production targets with the leader to meet needs of customers.Leader puts production first above Leader puts staff first understandingquality and safety. Encourages the that staff health is necessary foruse of “short cuts.” business health and that “short cuts” normally turn out to be “long cuts.”The leader considers training a waste Leader understands that training is aof time which causes production vital on-going process. Leaderdelays. realizes that it is more effective to train and make less mistakes than it is to fix errors.The leader frequently shows that it is The leader understands clearly thatnecessary to punish people by encouragement and respect for themaking them lose. individual will help people to do their very best.As you can see this point by point contrast reflects a dramatic shift in thinkingabout leader/staff relationships.Is the leadership in your organisation lethal? © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 43 For more learning resources, visit:
  44. 44. The Key to Productivity A step by step guide to improve workplace productivity. Chapter 10 Set mutually agreed expectations.Performance Expectations.We live in a world of expectations. People have expectations of us, we haveexpectations of them and we have expectations of ourselves. Normally, we havehigher expectations of our performance than the expectations held by others.This is part of human nature.In the work environment, there are all sorts of expectations, however, they arenot always discussed. These expectations are only voiced when they are not met.This situation is extremely common. How can people meet expectations if theydon’t know what they are and have had no input to them?Expectations that are not discussed create a very difficult situation in theworkplace. They only become known when they are not met. At this stage,emotion starts to creep into the situation closely followed by resentment. Youmust have heard some say at one stage, “But I didnt know I was supposed to dothat.”The amount of frustration this causes is unbelievable. On one hand we have aleader who has clear expectations and has not communicated them and will befrustrated when his people do not perform. On the other hand we have a staffmember who is doing their best and failing because they didnt have thenecessary direction.This is clearly a recipe for resentment and a lack of cooperation. Not the idealenvironment if you want to build increased productivity.If people do not know what is expected of them, how can they perform to thedesired standard? Successful leaders always share their expectations with theirpeople so that they can work towards them.What would happen if our people have unrealistic expectations of us as leaders?What if we have unrealistic expectations of our people? If you look closely atsome of the problems in the workplace, you can often trace the basic cause of theproblem to a lack of real understanding of expectations.It is vital to comprehend that it is the quality of the relationships whichdetermines the ability of the team to work together or work apart. © The Learning Company Ltd Publishing Group New Zealand 44 For more learning resources, visit: