Smart Work Strategies for Leaders: Improving your Organization’s Productivity

As a soccer fan, I am always amazed at the track record of successes and trophies European football clubs, such as Real Madrid FC, Manchester United FC, Liverpool FC, FC Barcelona (to name a few), have amassed over the years.  These clubs, many of which were founded in the late 1800s and early 1900s have one thing in common: they are all serial winners who place emphasis on talent acquisition, brand management, and people management in a competitive multi-billion-dollar global industry. While many organizations are focused on assembling the most talented and expensive players, these high performing organizations tend to place more emphasis on people management by hiring managers and executives (CEOs, director of football, chief scouts, team managers) who have mastered the art of getting the best out of their team/work force. For example, these organizations place utmost priorities in attracting high profile managers with track record of success in player management and trophies both at national and international levels. The principles of leadership and people management that underlies the successes of these soccer organizations can transform any business or professional organization that prioritizes value delivery into multi-generational multi-billion dollar organizations. In this article, I discuss three important strategies leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs can employ to optimize their teams’ productivity and transform their organizations.

A. Embrace a System Thinking Approach in Managing your Business

Successful organizations are known to employ a holistic system thinking approach to management by institutionalizing organizational/administrative structures, values, and policies that enhances people management and business processes in their organizations. Such systems are not built around the leader(s), but on the interconnectedness of the units/departments, business processes, and people in the organization/team. The system thinking approach not only makes your organization successful in the present, but ensures its continuous relevance, evolution, and transformation into a competitive and success multi-generational enterprise. This is the secret of the relevance and evolution of these successful soccer clubs many of which were founded in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

B. Invest in Your Team

A company’s most valuable asset is not the material assets acquired but its human resource. Investing in your team is critical in taking your organization to the next level business productivity. To do this, consider taking the following steps

  1. Begin by conducting an inventory analysis of the range of expertise available in your team against the expertise needed to deliver the target level of productivity. This inventory analysis will help you understand the talent/expertise gap you need to fill or talent/expertise surplus you need to trim.
  2. If there is a talent gap from Step 1, evaluate the pros and cons of hiring a complimentary talent versus outsourcing the job to a contractor/start-up firm, or investing in some of your current employees to acquire training/expertise in this area. On the other hand, if there is a surplus of talent/expertise to achieve your target level of productivity, consider revising your target level of productivity upward, or trim your workforce as appropriate.
  3. Devote time to listen and engage with your team members/staff through formal and informal avenues (e.g., annual performance evaluation, social events, community events). Such activities can serve as feedback mechanisms about your staff’s perspective about these possible bottlenecks, gaps, or opportunities.
  4. Finally, utilize the feedback received to create a flexible and intellectually stimulating environment to enhance your team’s productivity.

#3. Re-engineer your end-to-end business processes to optimize value delivery

Efficiency in your business processes is essential to increased value delivery. It involves finding optimal approaches (that simultaneously saves time, costs) for enhancing value delivery across phases of your business activities. This is accomplished by (1) identifying bottlenecks, cost-gulping activities, and gaps in your value delivery processes, (2) designing appropriate actions to minimize such bottlenecks/gaps, (3) implementing systems that ensures continuous adherence to the new processes. Depending on the size of your business, you may need to involve in-house or external project managers and process re-engineering experts to accomplish this. 

In conclusion, these strategies (the type of leadership’s mentality, people, and business process efficiency) are essential for enhancing your team’s productivity (regardless of your location or size of your business). If carefully studied and applied, these can take our organization to the next level of success.

We would love to hear from you. Kindly drop me a line if you have any questions. Have a great week.