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August 25, 2016

Productivity Advice from the Best Brands in the World

Getting work done on time is critical to success. Old tactics like pressurizing your employees or increasing work hours just don’t cut it anymore. Employees are not any more productive, nor do they perform any better under pressure. Motivated and empowered employees, however, will work hard and be more responsible. The question remains, how do you cultivate such employees? How do you make sure your employees are productive? Here are six lessons from the biggest brands in the world on how to improve productivity within the organization:

Just Do It – Nike!

Nike’s got it right. Unfortunately, most of us can’t seem to figure out what the ‘It’ in ‘Just Do It’ is. And so, step one is to evaluate exactly what you want to do and how you can do it. Prioritizing comes later.

The next step is countering the thoughts in your head. The biggest problem to ‘Just Do-ing It’ is usually you. How many times have you thought, “I want to do volunteer work” and there’s that little voice that says, “But you’re way too busy. Weekends are out of the question because that’s when you unwind… You can do it when you have more time.”

The counterattack to these is actually getting up and doing the thing you want to do, hence, Just Do It!

Delegate Responsibilities – Steve Jobs, Apple

The late and great Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc., had a method of making sure responsibilities were delegated and then carried out. Jobs would make sure that no one was doing any extra work, so that each resource could focus on only what was assigned to them.

According to Wired, “An effective Apple meeting will include an ‘action list,’ and next to each action item is a ‘DRI’ — a directly responsible individual who must ensure the task is accomplished.”

The myth of multi-tasking has us all believing that getting a large quantity of work done is the required output, all the while compromising on quality. In order to get the best quality output, it is important to concentrate on one thing at a time and dole out the rest amongst other employees.

Follow the 1-3-5 Rule – The Coca Cola Company

When making your daily to-do list, assume that only the following things can be achieved:

• One big thing;

• Three medium things;

• Five small things.

This prompts you to prioritize and work toward actual goals, rather than haphazardly getting through the day, half completing various projects and reports.

It also allows you to plan for the next day – jot down the big thing to take care of and try leaving a few spaces blank, in case you get work thrown at you at the last minute. This method also allows you to measure your performance and productivity over the ensuing weeks and months.

Constant Learning Leads to Continuous Improvement – The Toyota Way

Toyota is renowned for its two basic pillars – respect for people and continuous improvement. Apply these to your daily work schedule and you’ve got a winner. Constant learning at the workplace allows for motivated employees. When employees feel valued and appreciated they will, in turn, be more productive and loyal.

Make time for focused learning. Send members of your team to seminars and workshops, then have them present the learnings to the rest of the employees. Have an article reviewing session and discuss the latest research from your field of work.

Remember, having more informed employees in your organization will work to your benefit. The possibilities are endless.

Maintain Consistency in Quality – McDonald’s

McDonald’s is, undoubtedly, the king of consistency in quality. No matter what the location – a McDonald’s branch or franchisee will have its Golden Arches, Ronald McDonald sitting out front and a Big Mac will always taste like a Big Mac.

The takeaway? Set a standard of output required from your employees and maintain it. The worst thing is to give the client a project that has been worked on just for the sake of completion. Would you want to eat a Big Mac with limp lettuce, no dressing and uncooked meat? Nope. You’ll send it back. Not only will your clients be unhappy and demand re-dos, the team’s track record will also be ruined.

Achieving consistency in quality allows you to identify the areas of weakness, which can be easily worked upon and eliminated. It sets benchmarks and standard for productivity that must be met in order to move forward.

Develop Great Leaders – Disney

Attention to detail is the religion at Disney. Instead of keeping the customer at the center of attention, Disney focuses on building better leaders – who will churn out better employees – who, in turn, will treat the customer better.

In an interview with Fast Company, Lee Cockerell, former executive vice-president at Disney says, “When you think about it, the customer doesn’t come first—great leaders come first,” Cockerell says. “You can’t have a great company without great leadership. They create the right environment and the kind of culture where people are able to do more than they think they can.”

Face it, you can’t micromanage everyone – that’s what hierarchies are for. To make sure that every single resource is productive, you need good leaders. Call them managers if you must, but these people are the ones who will set a tone for your company and build it to greatness.


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