5 Productivity Mistakes Most Businesses Make and How to Solve Them
There are many mistakes made every day in businesses around the world. Mistakes are of course inevitable as a lot of these are made by human beings, but there are a number of mistakes that can be easily avoided with a small amount of commitment to change. Here are my top 5 productivity mistakes happening in today’s businesses.
#1 Lack of Structure & Planning
Many companies evolve over time. Sometimes this evolution is planned and sometimes not. If the evolution happens organically often there is no structure, no processes, and no procedures to follow. Meetings are ad hoc and disorganized, agendas incomplete or non-existent, and follow ups only followed up the day before the next meeting. This type of inefficiency costs businesses millions each year in lost revenue.
#2 Lack of Support for Delegation
Delegation is crucial if you want your business to survive. Executives are overworked and unexperienced in sharing the load. They either don’t a have a process that they can trust or they don’t have a person that they feel confident delegating to. A scenario like this is unsustainable; delegation is vital to the survival of a company. If managers don’t delegate, their teams will never get the opportunity or experience of the work they need to progress.
#3 Lack of Decision Making
Without a system for decision making, prioritising and managing tasks, people will likely do what’s easy first or react to the people who shout loudest. Clutter is caused by a lack of decision making. We leave things lying around because we haven’t decided where to put them. Emails linger in our inbox because we don’t want to think about what we need to do to answer the query. People need a way to deal with their work in a way that they no longer react to what’s shiny or loud but make decisions based on priority and focus.
#4 Lack of Accountability for Things not Getting Done
In my experience too many companies are unaware of the importance of accountability. Lack of leadership, lack of skills and perhaps lack of confidence prevents managers from holding their team responsible for work not getting done. Managers need a way to delegate, manage and lead effectively while ensuring that the job is getting done.
#5 Lack of Acknowledgment of the Human Capacity to be Productive
Human beings are not productive every hour of the day. We have peaks and troughs and highs and lows. Motivated and stimulated one day to be down and out the next. Companies need to acknowledge these natural rhythms of life and allow workers to follow their own rhythms. Flexible working hours, teleworking should be the rule rather than the exception. Freedom to work, rest and play according to each persons requirements could improve productivity for the team.
All of these mistakes can be easily rectified with one thing: every team needs a task management/ communications tool to help track and encourage work to get done – a central system for planning, managing and communicating work to be done. A tool like this aids delegation, prioritisation and accountability. Any member of the team can access it and see not only what they are responsible for, but at what stage everyone else is in their work. Asana, Trello, Intellinote, Teamwork to name but a few. There are tools to suit every company and every industry.
What’s important is the commitment.
Taking part should not optional. In order to take your organisation to the next level and stop making these damaging productivity mistakes try out one of the systems and get more done.
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Ciara is a Personal Productivity Consultant and founder of LeadwithProductivity.com. She is the author of "Productivity for Dummies" (Jan 2016) and "Chaos to Control – a practical step to getting things done" (May 2012). As a consultant, Ciara helps organisations and individuals identify the barriers to productivity, improve performance and create a happier workplace. Ciara is an associate with LBS Partners - a provider to ManagementWorks on our Lean Business programme.