In business, the quest for productivity is like the Holy Grail—universally sought but rarely attained. This chapter unpacks the three key factors that can set your organisation on the path to a 10x productivity revolution. Drawing from time-tested principles and contemporary insights, we delve into the new ways of Leading, Thinking, and Working that every organisation needs to adopt.
The Magic Number: Three
The number three has a magical significance, not just in folklore but in cognitive psychology as well. Our brains are wired to remember things in threes. This chapter presents a triad of factors—Leading, Thinking, and Working—critical for achieving unprecedented productivity. The sequence matters: starting with leadership sets the stage for organisational culture and process improvements. Many organisations start with the ways of working and concentrate on operational methods, such as Scrum, Kanban, or Agile, bypassing the critical steps of cultivating the right mindset and leadership style. This oversight can stymie progress. Consider the servant leadership model integral to Scrum; it’s often conspicuously absent when businesses hastily assemble Scrum teams. Similarly, leadership teams may rush to adopt Agile methodologies without a foundational understanding of constraint theory, undermining their efforts.
New Ways of Leading: Diverse Culture, Outcome-Based Objectives, and Effective Measures
Leadership is the lynchpin of any organisation’s success. Effective leaders set the tone, define the culture, and create the right motivational ecosystem. They understand the importance of a diverse culture that encourages different perspectives and innovative solutions. They also emphasise outcome-based objectives, steering clear of the vanity metrics that often mislead organisations.
Culture and Incentives
Financial incentives are not the silver bullet for motivation. Research reveals that performance-based pay can actually demotivate employees. Instead, organisations should focus on intrinsic rewards like job satisfaction, creativity, and teamwork. For example, Google’s “20% time” allows employees to work on side projects, which not only fosters creativity but has also led to some of Google’s most successful products, like Gmail.
New Ways of Thinking: An Agile, Adaptive, Constraints-Aware Mindset
An agile mindset isn’t just for software development; it’s a way of approaching any problem. Organisations need to move from a fixed to a growth mindset, encouraging employees to learn, adapt, and improve. Businesses often fall into the trap of hiring more people to solve problems, but the answer often lies in better utilising existing resources. By adopting a constraints-aware mindset, organisations can do more with less.
The Productivity Paradox
Executives often acknowledge the need for productivity improvements but fail to act. This paradox can be broken by a holistic approach that includes training everyone in the organisation to overcome constraints. A Chief Productivity Officer or a Lean Six Sigma consultant can offer short-term gains but for sustainable growth, the change must be organisational.
New Ways of Working: Streamlined Processes and Integrated Tools
In the digital age, the right tools and processes can significantly boost productivity. Tools should not only automate tasks but also provide actionable insights. Organisations should aim to build digital operating models that facilitate real-time decision-making.
The Pitfalls of Traditional Processes
Ironically, some processes meant to improve quality and efficiency, like ISO 9000, can become burdensome and counterproductive with team maintaining documents that few people ever read apart from the assessor. Companies should aim for a balance between structure and flexibility.
The Synergistic Triad: Leading, Thinking, Working
It’s crucial to understand that Leading, Thinking, and Working are not isolated pillars but form a synergistic triad. Each element influences the other, and the absence or failure of one can bring down the entire structure. Achieving a 10x productivity increase isn’t just a lofty goal; it’s a necessity in today’s fast-paced, competitive landscape. Organisations that invest in effective leadership, adopt an agile mindset, and streamline their processes are not just setting themselves up for incremental gains; they are igniting a revolution.
Interested in learning how to implement these strategies in your organisation for a 10x productivity boost? Book a meeting with me to discuss customised solutions tailored to your needs.