Low productivity is last but not least on our list of the leading business problems we address in our latest eBook.
Each year, companies lose approximately $37 billion due to unproductive meetings. This impacts not only individual businesses but also the global economy. Time and money is being lost when it doesn't have to be. This problem is real, and it's time to wake up, have the right conversations, and address the root cause of the problem.
The problem of low productivity affects nearly all businesses at some point in their lifespan, and it shows up in a number of different ways in the everyday working environment. Here are a few of the symptoms:
1. Disengagement – Participation in activities, whether they're directly related to roles and tasks or cultural events, is low. No one seems eager to discuss or resolve issues.
2. Nothing is accomplished in meetings – Rather than creating clarity, meetings lead to disengagement or even more confusion. Effective meetings get to the heart of the matter and leaders will seek input, while ineffective meetings generally involve beating around the bush and one-way conversations that don't allow employees to weigh in.
3. Capacity doesn't match results – Just because people are showing up to work and are putting forth an effort doesn't mean productivity is being maximized. If technical or motivational problems are apparently and there's more that could be achieved, your organization likely has an issue with low productivity.
4. Creativity is lacking – Few new ideas are being brought to the table, and the organization is in need of innovation in all areas of the business, from processes to projects to solutions. Growth, initiatives, and creative problem-solving may be stalled as a result.
The good news is that introducing the right conversations in your organization can reverse this problem, leading to more productive teams, more innovation, and better business results.
Our work with The Taunton Press revealed the power effective conversations can have on workplace culture and productivity.
Their organizational goals prior to training were to improve performance, communication, and collaboration among teams. They rolled out Fierce training for all employees, both part-time and full-time, and they appointed two people internally to become certified in Fierce who could serve as coaches for employees.
After undergoing training, Taunton improved productivity and held more effective meetings with their new conversational approach. "People are giving frank input more often; it allows for the tougher conversations that they may have avoided in the past. We're able to tackle tougher challenges and be more nimble. Meetings go better and we accomplish more," said Carol Marotti, Taunton Vice President of Human Resources.
A survey they conducted every six months also revealed that employees were more satisfied with overall communication. Employee scores have risen when responding to the statement, the teams I interact with engage in meaningful debates that result in the best decisions for the company.
"If you're going to live and breathe Fierce, you have to be consistent and to work harder at good communication, using the Fierce tools. It's not always easy in the face of changes; sustainability is the key," said Marotti.
Download the full case study here.
In our eBook, we refer to three programs that are particularly effective for organizations who want to increase productivity. Here's a look at each, and some of the reasons why they're effective:
Increase engagement by seeking input – When leaders request input from their teams and communicate how much their individual input is valued, it builds trust and a sense of psychological safety. When employees are more engaged, more productivity results.
Have more productive meetings – When leaders and their teams know how to get to the heart of the matter, it saves time. Initiatives and projects move forward more easily, and after meetings, everyone knows what their role is and where to start so they can hit the ground running.
Increase innovation – Team conversations require soliciting multiple perspectives before reaching a decision. This increases collaboration and encourages individuals to share their unique ideas. The answers are in the room. Leaders are more informed when all ideas are brought to the table, allowing them to make better, more productive decisions.
Address issues head-on – When performance or relationship issues go unresolved, productivity is impacted. Addressing issues head-on removes the barriers that are hindering the momentum to move forward more efficiently and effectively.
Improve relationships, build trust – Confrontation requires transparency and courage. When you confront an issue with someone, you are showing what you really think and feel. From there, trust and a sense of safety are formed, and the other person knows that if an issue arises again, they can trust that you'll let them know. This sense of safety leads to greater productivity. Read more here.
Course correct to salvage projects – When issues arise gradually, they can lead to an unwanted suddenly with projects. Confronting problems early on before they turn into a suddenly has the power to salvage the entire success of a project and set it on more positive trajectory. It also sets a better course for future projects.
Allow others to uncover their own barriers to success – If an employee is experiencing disengagement or their production efforts are slipping, chances are, they'll have more insight into it than anyone else will. Effective coaching allows the other person to uncover what their barriers might be and how they can overcome them.
Initiate growth and development – Coaching leads others on a path of self-discovery, often resulting in a greater awareness of where they want to develop and take on tasks best suited to their strengths, skills, and interests, leading to more intrinsic motivation and productivity.
Reveal authentic truths – Guide individuals to have "aha!" moments and discover more of what they authentically want for themselves and their career. These are the kinds of revelations that will guide behavior moving forward and contribute to greater productivity.
Low productivity is a common business problem, but the power of effective conversation can set your organization on an entirely new, and more productive, path. Download the eBook here for more on low productivity and how to solve it.