“The productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker but of the manager.” – Peter Drucker
I like the Drucker quote above this but it’s also a little scary. Unfortunately, I think it’s true. As a general rule, the people who work for you do whatever it is you tell them to do however they know how to do it. If you don’t like what’s being done or how it’s being done, it’s your responsibility to change it.
How do we do that? I’d suggest something a little different from the usual. Traditionally, if someone’s performance/productivity wasn’t up to snuff, they were told to “do better”. The problem is that if someone just says “do better”, you’re going to just do more of the stuff you were already doing – which clear wasn’t getting the desired results.
Let’s take a simple example. Suzy & Mike are both in sales. Suzy made 40 sales last month; Mike made 20. The traditional method of improving Mike’s performance would be to say, “Mike, we need you to double your sales next month.” So what would Mike do? Probably twice as much of what he was already doing.
But is that really productive? What if Suzy isn’t doing twice as much of what Mike is doing? What if Suzy is doing totally different things altogether? Let’s say Mike sends out 500 mailings and attends 20 events each month. Suzy, on the other hand, doesn’t send out any mailings; she makes 50 personal calls. Is it the most productive use of Mike’s time to try to send out 1000 mailings and go to 40 events? Obviously not.
The point is this: do you understand which behaviors really drive the performance you’re looking for? And if so, are you measuring them? How much more productive would you be as a leader if instead of just telling people like Mike to “do better”, you could tell them what specific actions they need to take to get the desired results? And how much more productive would Mike be? Instead of taking who knows how long to get what you want, he can do it as efficiently as possible.
Think about the people you supervise. Are you as productive a coach as you can be for them? Are you helping them to be as productive as they’re capable of being? In other words: Are you doing your job as leader?