We see it every day at the office: The ‘I’m-in-pain-because-I’m-working-so-hard’ face. It may look convincing, but it’s not a metric for effectiveness.
It’s an illusion that the harder and faster we work, the better our solutions will be. The mindset is that more is better. These employees are not thinking that effectiveness is more productive than quantity.
It’s a focus that can lead to a major dysfunction: Disengaged, burnt-out employees, simply going through the motions.
Diane Fassel, author of The Addictive Organization and Working Ourselves to Death discovered that an addiction to busyness drives a contagious loop in which company leaders model bravado behaviour that actually undermines productivity and engagement.
To break out of this counterproductive reflex, leaders must gather information about how people work — and how they feel about their work.
Valued working style
Engaged employees are more energised, dedicated and committed to their tasks and to the company than folks operating by rote. The oomph they provide, or ‘discretionary effort’, has been shown to increase performance and profits.
Employee engagement is a major concern among large companies and human resource professionals. But in the entrepreneurial realm, there’s little thought paid to working style; instead, it’s a flat-out, unconscious frenzy, a reaction to what’s incoming all day long.
Engagement is the X-factor entrepreneurs would be wise to harness. The key is in making people feel valued and trusted.
“Feeling valued means that the work culture supports employee growth and development, removes obstacles to getting the job done and allows employees to use all of their gifts in the service of the organisation,” Fassel says. “If they don’t feel valued, they typically burn out quickly. But if they feel valued, they tend to work hard and cope well.”
Recognising value requires effort from leaders to find out what people really think, by taking time to dialogue solutions and showing a willingness to communicate beyond mouse clicks. That means offering positive feedback, looking employees in the eye and affirming that they’re doing a good job.
Recognising a good idea or dedication to a project fuels engagement, particularly when it goes to a person’s sense of competence, rather than just results. (“I like how you handled that.”)
A sense of competence is a core psychological need that drives intrinsic motivation and a continuous interest in the work at hand.
A personal touch can go a long way to building an engaged team. Fassel points to hand-scribbled thank you notes from supervisors: “It’s not just, ‘What a great job you did’, but ‘When I saw you solve this problem, I realised what a wonderful asset you are to the team, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.’ These people keep these notes for years. If that’s all it takes, we’re really missing the boat.”
The Secret Recipe
The Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study measured 32 000 people in 29 global markets, focusing on engagement brought about in the following areas:
- Leadership. Leaders show sincere interest in employees’ well-being and earn their trust and confidence.
- Stress, balance and workload. Stress levels are manageable, there’s a healthy work-life balance and enough employees to do the job.
- Goals and objectives. Employees understand how their jobs contribute to achieving company goals.
- Supervisors. Managers assign appropriate tasks, coach employees and behave consistently.
- Image. The company is held in high regard by the public and displays integrity in business practices.
The study found that companies with the highest engagement levels had an operating margin of 27%, while those with the lowest were at less than 10%. At disengaged companies, 40% of employees were likely to leave in the next two years; at the most at engaged firms, the number was 18%.
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Want more productive employees? Let them goof off. Here’s why
Use Talent As Your Key Competitive Advantage In 2019
What separates top performing companies from their more mediocre counterparts?
Ever since Jim Collins wrote about getting the right people in the right seats on the bus in his best-seller Good to Great, there has been an ever-increasing focus on the role that talent plays in the success of an organisation.
But, If you thought that great companies are successful because they attract, hire and can afford more talented employees, you’d be dead wrong. While conducting research for their book, Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag & Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power, Bain & Company experts Michael Mankins and Eric Garton evaluated the relative productivity of 308 companies worldwide, and found that on average, all roles, across organisations, are made up of 14% A-level talent. This statistic holds true for the best-performing companies as well as poor performers.
In fact, the top-performer in their focus group was 40% more productive than the rest, but did not have significantly more A-level talent. This means that they had achieved what their peers had by 10am on a Thursday — and then continued to produce for the next two days.
As you head into a new year, consider what you could have achieved with an additional 90 to 100 days over the course of the past year? Where would your company be now?
Unlocking your potential
If talent is not the deciding factor, then what is? According to Mankins and Garton, it’s how that talent is deployed. They found that most companies have one A-level talent per team, spreading talent evenly across the organisation.
The problem is that this doesn’t take critical roles into account. Organisations that take the time to map critical positions within the company that directly impact key business objectives tend to be more productive. Why? Because their A-players are in the right positions and not wasted on non-critical roles that could just as easily be filled by B-players.
As an entrepreneur or team leader, your role is to grow your business or department. Your people are key to achieving this, so consider the talent you have to work with:
- Are your top players in mission-critical roles?
- Can they directly impact revenue growth?
- Are they filling roles that a B-player can just as easily do, and which won’t impact revenue if the same level of productivity or efficiency is not achieved?
Related: Competitor Analysis Example
Efficiency versus productivity
While you evaluate your workforce, consider how Mankins describes efficiency versus productivity.
Efficiency is when the same amount is produced with less. To become more efficient, businesses need to find wastage and eliminate it.
Productivity on the other hand is when we produce more with the same. This is achieved when you increase output per unit of input and remove any obstacles to productivity.
Lean organisations are very good at finding efficiencies. Growth organisations are highly productive. If you want to achieve both in 2019, start by ensuring your A-level talent are in the right positions. Then look at all the areas in your business that are costing you money and consider how you can strip those costs away without affecting your productivity. You do not want to hinder growth. You want to run a smarter, leaner business.
Finally, you don’t need to do it alone. Too many entrepreneurs work independently of their teams. You’ve hired great people — use them. What are their suggestions on improving productivity and efficiencies across the business? Ask the right questions and you may just discover talent you didn’t know you had.
Working Remotely? Why You Need A Car
The cars available at vehicle auctions in South Africa consist of both sedans and zippy hatchbacks which are perfect for town driving and will get you to your in-office meetings on time.
Remote work can be an amazing experience. You do not have to wake up at 5 am to beat the morning traffic and you can work from the comfort of your own home office (or bedroom). Working remotely can become lonely and you might have to visit the office for certain projects. This means that you will need to have a car.
If you are in search of an affordable but reliable car, vehicle auctions in Gauteng could provide the perfect car to meet your needs. Not sure why you need a car if you are working from home? Below are just some of the reasons why it is a necessity.
You might need to go into the office
While some remote work does not require you to be in the office, there are some instances that you might be required to go into the office. This can prove difficult if you do not have a car and have to rely on public transport.
Public transport can be unreliable, which means that you might not arrive on time for meetings or project conferences. Being on time for meetings and group chats is important, and being late can add to your stress levels. Having a car will help to make this journey easier. The cars available at vehicle auctions in South Africa consist of both sedans and zippy hatchbacks which are perfect for town driving and will get you to your in-office meetings on time.
You will need to perform daily errands
Whether you work from home, from a coffee store or in an office, the truth of daily life is that there are always errands to run. And without a car, you might not be able to perform these errands easily.
Grocery shopping can become heavy to carry home if you walk, and an appointment in a suburb far from your own might have to be cancelled. While these might not be as important as your work, you will soon find it frustrating having to call for a lift from a service such as Uber whenever you need to leave home. Not only will this become costly, but you will find it ineffective if you are in a rush or need to be somewhere at a certain time.
You might get lonely
Remote work does allow you a lot more freedom, but you have to put in the same hours as an office job. And these hours can become lonely if you are cooped up inside all day, alone. Having a car will allow you to meet up with friends in the afternoon or weekends.
Auctions will provide you with a diverse array of cars to choose from, including 4×4 options for those who enjoy longer journeys and adventures. Becoming lonely can be distracting and cause you to run behind on your work. If you are looking at working remotely but know that you could fall victim to this feeling, be sure to socialise with friends and family whenever possible. Having your own car will make this possible.
There will be client meetings
Remote work will mostly mean that you work from home or from your favourite coffee store. But it can also involve meeting clients to discuss a brief, which can be tricky if you have to rely on public transport. Not only will being late cause you to stress, but it will be a bad representation of your company for the client.
If you are able to drive yourself to meetings in your own car, there is a higher chance of a successful meeting. An Uber driver might get lost and a bus might break down, but your own car is reliable and affordable. If you have to meet a client urgently about a project, having to rely on public transport can be disastrous.
It is vital to take the fact of client meetings into account when you decide to work remotely and ensure you are able to represent your company the best way possible.
There will be company get-togethers
A company that consists mostly of remote workers is guaranteed to have regular get-togethers so that all the team members can meet each other and get to know one another. Sometimes, these get-togethers might be far away, and you will need an easy and effective mode of transport.
If you are in search of a car to get you from home to the next work gathering, the auction cars in Gauteng will certainly fit your needs. Not attending company get-togethers and events will reflect poorly on your ability to work in a team, regardless of if your team works together in an office or not. You will be able to learn more about your team and the company as a whole at these events.
5 Traits Of Highly-Effective Scrum Teams
Here are the top 5 traits of highly-effective scrum teams.
Scrum teams can make quick work of complex projects. But accomplishing your company goals by utilising a sprint team is difficult because effective scrum teams are so exceedingly rare.
If you’re thinking of assembling a scrum team, you have to be sure that you’re working with talented individuals who can tolerate the stress hyper-ambitious project management frameworks invite.
Agile teams are ones open to change, to communication, and to improving processes as they define them. Scrum teams have all these same qualities but are unique from agile teams in a few key ways.
You must search for key attributes that define great scrum teams before you begin your company’s next project. Here are the top 5 traits of highly-effective scrum teams:
Scrum is one of the leading frameworks implementing agile. Agile is an iterative process whereby teams are self-organised and self-motivated, delivering working products in cycles and measuring the progress of their project through these deliverables.
Scrum team members do not hesitate to change requirements, expand or minimise scope, or add or remove a planned feature from an end product.
Changing roles, revisiting processes, or scrapping failed plans is not unheard of for scrum teams. In fact, even changes late in the development process are encouraged.
Scrum defines the length of the iterative processes. The time spent on each cycle is defined as a sprint. With each sprint, which is usually only two weeks long, a small fragment of the project is completed.
Upon the completion of the sprint, the scrum master (or project manager) leads a retrospective, using past evidence and performance evaluations to determine how they will go about completing the next sprint. The sprint structure demands ambition.
Successful scrum teams are passionate and ambitious. With each new sprint, they concentrate their goal of continually improving and expanding what their team can accomplish.
3. Open to criticism
One of the foundational principles of scrum is continual improvement. The sprints and the project retrospectives between them serve to help the team better identify problems. In order for this to work, every team member must be open to constructive criticism.
In addition, they must understand how to apply this constructive criticism to make processes better. The team, therefore, must communicate clearly and concisely.
The team as a whole must be on the same page about improving processes. The team must be cohesive, open to mentorship, and gentle but honest communication.
An experienced team is much more likely to lead your company to success than an inexperienced one. It seems like an obvious bit of wisdom but it is nonetheless true. While you may be attracted to hiring a young team of passionate and promising project managers and developers, it’s a better idea to bet on an experienced bunch.
Scrum is an incredible project management framework. Still, there is no substitute for experience. No matter how strong a framework may be, it cannot buttress your project against unexpected challenges – only experienced project managers can do that.
Scrum team leaders have to underscore the importance of constant communication on a regular basis. Ideally, scrum team members are cooperative, communicative, and transparent. The best scrum teams can achieve a high level of cooperation with little to no contentious feelings.
Additionally, scrum teams are cooperative with the organisation as a whole. Often, scrum teams want to communicate and cooperate with other departments within a company. Instead of working in the dark, scrum teams prefer to engage business people, product owners, and marketers with their development process.
Scrum is one of the most popular project management methodologies based on the agile approach. Scrum is everything agile is but with a bit more of a backbone.
Scrum teams embrace fast-paced environments that use an iterative process to handle complexity. As such, successful scrum teams are adaptive, ambitious, and co-operative. They are open to constructive criticism and can leverage retrospectives to better the project.
No matter how hard your team tries, they are sure to encounter challenges. Experienced scrum teams can handle this pressure with cool, calm, and collected demeanour.
Expert scrum teams are rare, but it is possible to assemble one with the proper attention to the traits that comprise the most effective scrum teams.
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