Many see improving productivity as a complex activity that involves significant cost, effort and focus. In reality, significant productivty improvements can be acheived with the implementation of a few simple changes and behaviours that have a broad and far reaching impact on your buisness.
Our experience has shown that whenever we work with a team to deliver improved customer outcomes, increased revenue and costs reductions, there are always 4 simple solutions that are needed as a "baseline" productive business.
1. Written, agreed and followed standard operating procedures. Regardless of the size, scale and complexity of a business, you need to have the "way we do things here" written down and followed by everyone. All too often people are left to work out out for themselves, or end up trying to deliver the same outcome in different ways. It is worth the effort to have everyone who does the work to ensure that they all agree, and do the work, in the same way. From this baseline you can then work out what parts of the process are inefficient, non-productive or cause confusion. Without them, no-one is really sure how they should be doing the work anyway.
2. As a team discuss the business on a daily basis. This "stand-up", or "huddle" is a 5 minute team conversation to ensure everyone is aligned on the priorities for the day, and is clear on who needs to do what to make the day a successful one. Avoid being distracted by the minutia, but really hone in on the key deliverables from the team to win the day.
3. Aligned to the above is the use of a highly visible set of metrics that show how the term is performing. This board should have on display the key performance metrics for the team and show where you are on (or off) target so that the conversation is entered on "what dos we need to do now to get back on, or exceed target". Underestimate the power of this collective alignment on goals and outcomes at your peril!
4. Finally - work out what you need to do as a team to improve. You have the processes all written down, you are meeting daily to talk about performance, you have highly visible metrics showing how well you are going, you can now spend some time working out what do you need do to be better!
Simple processes that have a profound impact on you and your team's performance. Give it a try. You'll be surprised.