From my managing large teams at Apple to my work today in education, improving the performance of any organisation comes down to one factor: how well your staff perform.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a medium sized marketing company, an international household name or a local primary school. When employees perform poorly, the organisation performs badly. When employees perform well, the organisation excels. In a world were there are endless (and I really do mean endless!) tips, hacks and lists on improving the performance of your staff, the strategies that underpin them go unspoken. To empower leaders, whether they’re a small business owner or senior international executive, I detail the 3 strategies that underpin better employee performance whatever the organisation.
1. Improve the capability of employees
Give your staff the right tools they need to do the job. This sounds like common sense but most companies unknowingly do as much as they can to reduce the capability of their employees. Management layers within organisations don’t just carve out authority for a select few, they also carve out capability, limiting staff below them to their job spec only. When Toyota decided that they wanted to develop the best car manufacturing process in the world they gave their production line staff the capabilities to do it. At every station they installed a big red button that the employee was expected (yes expected!) to push should they see a problem on the production line. Doing so brought everything to a halt, and no more cars would be produced that day until the problem was documented and removed from the manufacturing process. This is why today Toyota can build some of the highest quality cars on the market from scratch in just 17 hours. They gave their employees the capabilities to do so.
2. Improve your organisation’s productivity
A lot of people think about productivity in the wrong way. The common misconception is that to become more productive you complete all your tasks in less time. Linguistically this counts as improving your productivity, but in terms of moving the needle forward in your business it doesn’t. Rather than being focused on reducing the time taken to complete current tasks you want to focus on where you use that time in the first place. Are the tasks set really productive to moving the company forward? Many times they’re not, and organisations can easily become filled with people doing ‘busy-work,’ tasks that keep the company ticking over rather than moving it forward. To improve an organisation’s productivity you must reduce this, so that employees spend their time and energy on the things that matter. The best way to start is to write a ‘Stop Doing’ list, tasks that you regularly do that don’t have an impact towards the strategic goals of the company. Once you’ve written them for yourself next write them for your team. From your team then write them for your company. Now you have a template to work from that will improve productivity.
3. Improve employees consistency
It doesn’t matter where in the world you buy a Rolex watch from. The sales process is always the same. This is because Rolex maintain its consistency by requiring dealers to attend training courses numerous times a year. Don’t want to attend the training courses? Well no more Rolex’s for you to sell. It’s that simple. Rolex aren’t unique in this, and every successful company will have a documented sales process that staff are trained to follow. This is often separates successful businesses from their pack, because they know that as soon as you control the process, you control the quality.
Let me know how you get on improving the performance of your organisation by leaving a comment below.