|Here are some common
mistakes people make when trying to increase productivity:
- Outsourcing as a panacea. While
outsourcing can make sense, it doesn't always lower costs. Look at
each outsourcing option and ask yourself where the real cost-savings
- Longer hours. The U.S. government
measures productivity by dividing output by the number of workers.
All that tells you is the output per worker. It doesn't tell you the
cost of that output or if it's efficient. What matters is the unit
labor cost per worker. Longer hours typically will lead to a higher
cost--and lower productivity.
- Technology as a panacea. Simply adopting
technology won't make you more productive. Your processes and
technology must work together to eliminate wasted steps and speed up
essential steps. That takes intelligence, information, and
- Tying wages to productivity. Companies
that have tried this have found their people sacrifice quality or some
other important attribute to make their numbers--or they falsify
records. This approach doesn't work. There are ways to use financial
rewards to boost productivity. You can find out what they are, if you
bring us to your location for a productivity seminar.
- Multitasking. This approach attempts to
make the human brain do what it is incapable of. Focus works,
multitasking does not.
- Raising goals. Some managers mistakenly
think performance appraisals are useful. The evidence says the
opposite. For those in denial, the allure of raising performance
appraisal goals is strong. The theory is that the typical employee
is unaware that layoffs are occurring in massive numbers, has no
motivation to do a good job, and needs the manager to prod him or
her to do a better job. Managers who "think" this way
simply encourage cheating, build resentment, and stifle motivation.
That annual review is one of the most counterproductive things a
manager can do. Instead of engaging in that hurtful charade, keep
communication channels open and work with your direct reports to
increase their productivity. We show you ways to to that in our