One of the chief advantages of the human brain is the ability to think of a multitude of ideas. We call the process “brainstorming,” and for good reason: when done right, an actual flood of ideas results. We can then grab the likely looking ones and start throwing them at the problem until something sticks.
To the casual observer, you might seem like a great performer—you’re keeping up with all your work with perfect consistency and maintaining an empty inbox. But you personally know you’re stuck in a productivity rut—a place where you get your work done, but only at a minimal level, and certainly without flair or inspiration. Your personal return on investment (PROI) in your job is very low, and you feel “stuck.” We’ve all been there at one time or another, for any of a number of reasons. Basically, you end up going through the motions, doing what you have to in a just-in-time fashion and staying busy without necessarily adding to your organization’s bottom line (whether fiduciary or otherwise).
In business, we measure success by the bottom line; or as I’ve heard some people put it, “we keep score with dollars.” When you get right down to it, profit represents the combination of drive, work, and efficiency we call high productivity. Staying busy isn’t enough; we have to stay busy at what matters, in ways that move us toward well-defined goals and objectives.
By this point in your career, you’ve most likely figured out the basic requirements for achieving workplace productivity. No doubt you have a good idea of how to manage your time, set goals, break big tasks into smaller ones, prioritize your task list, keep your email inbox empty, shake off procrastination, and dodge perfectionism. In other words, you’ve learned the principles of high performance.
It’s frustrating to leave a sales call and wonder, “What did I miss?” or “What can I do now?” or “What does he really want?” If you’re like me, you don’t like hearing “I’m not interested,” “My budget’s spent,” or even worse getting no returns to calls or emails after making a presentation. One of the biggest reasons this happens is… you didn’t find out how what you are presenting meets or misses their needs.
Many small business owners/managers view the creative development of marketing materials as a burden to be avoided at all costs. Conversely, others look upon the task as a source of excitement and amusement. After all, everyone is constantly exposed to marketing materials on a daily basis. Since you know all about your business, how difficult can it be to make a brochure?
Everyone has a productivity personality. It’s the collection of strengths, weaknesses, and day-to-day habits that come together to determine how a person works best.
Executive Time Management: How Time Management Changes As You Move From Middle Management To The VP/C-Suite Level
By the time you reach the upper tiers of management, you’ll certainly be an expert at organizing and managing your work day—but you’ll soon realize that things work a little differently at the C-Suite level. In particular, how you use your time and who you give it to undergoes significant changes. Priorities and responsibilities shift; sometimes subtly, often radically. There’s much more to do, and the ante is higher: your actions impact the organization in ways undreamt of before.
For those of you who manage others, let’s begin with a quiz to do a quick check of your micromanagement tendencies. Please read through these questions carefully and answer them honestly, yes or no. What’s true of you most of the time?