Leaders if you want PRODUCTIVITY right now – Stop saying it! 

  • By Odelle Brown

Research shows us that the best way to ruin your team productivity right now is to use the word ‘productivity‘. In a world where everyone is feeling uncertain and unsure of what’s next research has shown us that on returning to our ‘new normality’ millions will be feeling unsure of job security and uncertain of what is around the corner. Under this kind of pressure certain behaviours can become amplified and can lead us to be more competitive with each other, undermine our colleagues and have that “me first” type of attitude. We go into what I like to call survival mode, as if we only have capacity to think for ourselves and our own tribe right now. In this mode people will be less likely to go the extra mile in the workplace.

So, what can we do?  We have identified 3 simple solutions:

  1. 90 Day Mission: – give everyone 1 thing (2 things max) to focus on. Bring all together and really align what you are all going to focus on for the next 90 days.  This must be a short term mission, not the 100 year old mission on your website about saving the whales (!!!!)  Refocusing on a new 90 day mission gives us focus, it gives us purpose, it inspires us and gives us something to rally around.  Also, it shows us that our leaders think this is an ever evolving situation and things may change in 90 days, but that is ok because we are all in this together.
  2. Ownership: – People need a sense of control of their own work right now, they need some personal control and ownership over something. Give them something tangible from your 90 day mission that they can own or be a part of. Something that they add value on and have some ownership or participation of the decision-making process. So maybe you have agreed on a mission for 90 days but get everyone together and decide who is going to own and be accountable for what (RACI). Giving people personal ownership helps them to feel valued, letting them participate in the decisions ensures they are on the journey with you, you are all in this together and that you care and value their opinions. When people have been working remotely, they can feel disconnected – this is a great way to connect them again. Now that you have given them ownership you need to trust them to get on with it…..leading me to no.3!
  3. Trust: – this sounds so simple, it is NOT and I think is the biggest barrier to working effectively together full stop even prior to COVID. What I mean by ‘TRUST’ is,
    • be HUMAN with people
    • Be present now more than ever,
    • practice active listening,
    • focus on the human,
    • build a connection
    • have empathy, and build a deeper relationship with them.

When human beings distrust in the workplace, they withhold information, they resist, they avoid, they argue, and they attack. This is not the time for any of these ‘qualities’! Interestingly all that these behaviours do is to amplify the distrust.

Where Do We Start?

Start reflecting firstly on yourself, how trustworthy are you? What I mean by that is how sincere are you? Do you do what you say, do your actions match your words? Are you reliable, do you commit to things and deliver on your promises? Do you have the skills and competence or even resources to do what you said you would do? Are you interested in your own agenda or the other persons? Are you clear in your expectations of others? Do you speak up when you are unclear?

If we can firstly answer these questions about ourselves and increase our own trustworthiness, then we can increase our trust in others. Yes, we must do the work ourselves first people! If we can then start connecting with those people around us in a more human empathetic way and have real authentic emotional responses in the moment and be more vulnerable and more real with each other we will build deeper connections and therefore deeper trust with each other.

This I believe is the one thing that we could learn from COVID that will really make an impact in our future of work. We have an opportunity to remove the barriers that have caused us so much grief and heartache in the past and could actually improve our productivity (YES I SAID IT!) but also our own overall happiness in the workplace.

If you want OPTIMAL PRODUCTIVITY stop saying it and refocus on Mission, Ownership and Trust


If you would like some support establishing your 90 day mission and understanding what those strategic priorities should look like then we can help! Utilising our Predictive Index platform we can help you not only look at WHAT work needs to be done, but also WHO is doing the work. By aligning your team on what to focus on you can also ensure you have the right people focusing on the right things! Play to your team’s natural strengths rather than swimming upstream without a paddle! If you can understand the behavioural attributes of your team it is much easier to give people ownership and see who excels at what. Once this has been established it is much easier to trust each other and understand how to communicate clear expectations so you can all PERFORM to your best.

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