Sharing for maximal productivity
Now that we have planned what we want to see accomplished, the next step (Step 2) toward increased productivity is to share information effectively and involve others to ensure that everyone is as productive as possible and that tasks and projects move forward on schedule.
The five components of this step are:
- Schedule regular standing meetings
- Plan for regular communication
- Implement and utilize collaboration software
- Monitor and review processes
No project of scale can occur without clear communication. Everyone involved must know what needs to be done and how they’re expected to do it. To help facilitate communication, consider scheduling daily standing meetings (often called morning huddles or daily check-ins.) These meetings should be scheduled for first thing in the morning and kept short enough to comfortably complete them while standing.
Position yourselves in a circle and use the time to review the day’s tasks and individual responsibilities, as well as minor challenges that teammates may be facing. This will keep everyone in the loop and help work through small issues that can often halt progress. It will also build accountability as members don’t want to let others in the group down.
Separate from the morning huddles, plan regular one-on-one meeting time with each team member to check in in a more personal manner. The goal should be to motivate colleagues, get an update on their individual progress and troubleshoot problems that arise.
The Table Group, led by Patrick Lencioni, advises that leaders schedule weekly time (45 to 90 minutes) for tactical meetings (to review activities and team metrics) as well as monthly meetings of a longer duration (two to four hours) for more strategic conversations.
If you lead a remote team, you might think in-person collaboration is great but that it's simply not possible for remote team members to be present at the same time and place. Remote and geographically dispersed teams face challenges streamlining their workflows and improving collaboration.
Some leaders continue to rely on email and other e-communication tools, such as WhatsApp, to share information. Despite the many benefits of electronic communication, it can also present some meaningful downsides, including the fact that emails can be ignored, pile up and/or be difficult to find.
Efficient and fast communication should be in the form of fluid dialogue, not asynchronous. Collaboration software also known as groupware, can help any team, from the smallest startup to the largest enterprise, to quickly and easily share content in documents, messages, videos and other formats.
Each employee can communicate additional information by making changes that the system tracks. The manager collects the inputs and sends the newly revised document to his target audience.
Another benefit of collaboration software is improved scheduling. Lack of scheduling can waste up to 36% of employees’ work time. Businesses that plan and schedule their goals and activities get more done and are more effective. Daily, weekly and monthly scheduling allows teams to organize their workflows efficiently.
With collaboration software, for instance, employees can share public or personal calendars to know all meetings and deadlines. Workers can schedule daily meetings, planning meetings, conferences, brainstorm sessions and more in just one click.
Of course, all of this assumes that you are prepared to delegate work. Delegation is a critical element to increased productivity because it allows leaders to focus on the things that they are uniquely positioned and/or required to do. Delegation also clears the organizational bottleneck by not making all work dependent on the leader’s input.
(Check out past posts to read why leaders need to delegate, how to use situational leadership to delegate more effectively, what and when to delegate, how to create a delegation culture, and why delegate does not mean abdicate.)
The final piece of the “share it” step is to monitor and review the above processes with your teammates. Stay on top of things and correct and redirect when necessary. This motivates colleagues (who don’t feel abandoned) and helps you catch problems early. Recognize key milestones, such as completed sub-components, along the way.
When the process is complete, review everything to identify your successes as well as your failures. It is critical that complex processes such as communication, delegation,and, of course, execution, be reviewed openly and often to keep things humming. And, assuming there’s something to celebrate, applaud it. This can be anything from a simple "thank you" or "well done" to arranging for awards, gifts or bonuses.
Subsequent posts will walk us through the process of doing the work and sustaining it over time.
Naphtali Hoff, PsyD, (@impactfulcoach) is president of Impactful Coaching & Consulting. Check out his leadership book, "Becoming the New Boss." Read his blog and listen to his leadership podcast. Download his free new productivity blueprint and his e-books, "Core Essentials of Leadership," "An E.P.I.C. Solution to Understaffing" and "How to Boost Your Leadership Impact."