When it comes to achieving peak performance and productivity, many people have the thought that more is merrier, which is really not the case. Like Jeff Bezos said, if your team can’t be fed with 2 pizzas, it’s too big. Having a big team doesn’t mean it’s going to be productive, it can be counter-productive.
Most people assume that teams are automatically more productive than lone individuals and that larger teams are capable of doing more work than smaller teams. However, the output capability of a team is not determined by the size of the group but by the techniques and processes that are used.
In other words, an inefficient team of 20 employees could be less productive than a highly efficient team of five. To achieve optimal productivity, you’ll need to know how to avoid common pitfalls and stumbling blocks that waste time.
That being said, here’s how to address the top 5 mistakes and shortcomings that can damage a team’s productivity:
1. Insufficient Process Mapping
If you don’t know what process mapping is, there’s a good chance you could greatly benefit from implementing it in your business.
A company that doesn’t have a consistent process mapping system will find it very difficult to reach peak levels of productivity, especially with team dynamics taken into consideration.
In essence, everyone needs to be on the same page about what needs to be done, how it should be done, and when it should be done by.
If your company is making the mistake of ignoring this aspect of planning and scheduling, you can combat this problem by introducing value stream mapping (VSM) into your project and team management protocol. A comprehensive VSM, such as that described by Kanbanize in their article “What is Value Steam Mapping?”, will illustrate every step that your team performs which contributes value to the end customer.
Here’s how LucidChart.com define process mapping:
“A process map is a planning and management tool that visually describes the flow of work. Using process mapping software, process maps show a series of events that produce an end result. A process map is also called a flowchart, process flowchart, process chart, functional process chart, functional flowchart, process model, workflow diagram, business flow diagram or process flow diagram. It shows who and what is involved in a process and can be used in any business or organization and can reveal areas where a process should be improved.”
The purpose of process mapping is to increase the overall efficiency and enhance communication between your team.
Hence, create a process map so that each team member understands the entire workflow and what they need to do when a situation arises.
A process map literally puts everyone on your team on the same page.
2. Poor Communication
Any team that doesn’t have solid communication and correspondence will be prone to mistakes, errors, inaccuracies, and other inefficiencies or workflow deficiencies.
Team members should know the rules about when it’s necessary to communicate with their fellow team members and managers.
The most serious kind of communication lapse that can affect team workflow is poor briefing or guidance on behalf of managerial employees.
If your suppliers and employees aren’t being given clear and proper instructions and requirements, they could wind up delivering in an untimely or unsatisfactory manner.
Here are a couple of great tips you can implement to boost your team’s communication:
- Have an open door policy whereby anyone can ask questions.
- Encourage constructive criticism. To get the most out of your team, you need positive feedback from other members of the team.
- Be absolutely clear about tasks and the to-dos so that everyone knows their responsibility.
- Use the right form of communication. How do you communicate with your team? Through emails? Or verbally?
- Boost the team’s morale through team-building exercises from time to time.
3. Lack of Accountability and Empathy
If team leaders aren’t taking the initiative to analyze employee performance and hold individuals accountable, there’s no incentive or reverence in place to motivate team members to do their best.
Many professionals can do just fine without the extra motivation, but as a whole, most teams will perform better with a bit of a nudge.
On the other hand, if employees know that they could receive additional compensation or bonuses for commendable performance, they’ll be more likely to put forth a top-notch effort.
Likewise, if they’re concerned that they could be penalized in some way for poor performance, such accountability is usually enough to enforce a set standard of productivity.
And one of the best ways to create accountability among your team members is through empathy. Watch this short video below from Simon Sinek. It will change your life:
If you want your team to perform and to be accountable, you must first express empathy so that they feel safe to perform at their peak. Do you get that?
4. Inconsistent Scheduling
Studies have shown that consistent scheduling can make anyone more productive at almost anything. Our bodies and brains are cyclical, so we tend to perform best when our routines are predictable and stable.
This concept is true not only for corporate productivity but also for academic performance and physical fitness.
Just think about how schools and universities structure their schedules almost down to the minute. When it’s time for the bell to ring, it rings without fail every time at the exact same time.
That’s the kind of reliable structure that you need to create in your business. If you can do that, your team will fall into a rhythm and productivity will skyrocket.
Therefore, be consistent. Be consistent with your workflow. Be consistent with how you deal with your meetings. Be consistent with your values.
5. Improper Work Allocation
Work allocation can be tricky because you might think you’re spreading the workload evenly among your team, but you could be giving the wrong jobs to the wrong people.
You could also be overburdening certain employees with too much work, which not only keeps your other employees from maximizing their potential, it also negatively impacts the creativity and energy of the overburdened group.
The solution to this problem is to simply experiment with different allocation arrangements.
Eventually, you’ll start to learn about the strengths and weakness of each member of your team, which will help you better allocate work going forward.
The best method to make your team performs at their best is to allocate the right tasks to the right people.
In his best-selling business book, Good to Great, Jim Collins explained how getting the right people on the “bus” is the first step to building a successful business.
It is not how or what, but who. Collins said, “First who, then what: ‘It’s not just a business principle, it’s a life principle.'”
So get the right people to your team. And then allocate the right task to the right people. When that happens, your team’s performance will automatically soar.
Managing a team is not easy, let alone to boost your team’s productivity. Sometimes things can go out of hand quickly and the entire team can fall.
But when you have the right team with the right management skills and tools, your team can produce stellar results and get you the success you want more than you can imagine.
If you’re serious in increasing your team’s productivity and get more done, avoid the 5 things mentioned above.