Think for a second, putting your strategic and operational planning aside — how is the day-to-day performance of your organization? Are your employees hitting the short-term goals necessary to advance long-term success and accelerate business performance? There’s a good chance your answer isn’t a positive “Yes!”
An article from The New York Times brought to light a very interesting point: one of the most effective ways to accelerate business performance is to move from a culture that rewards the number of hours worked, to one that rewards the actual results produced. In 2010, a University of California-Davis study interviewed corporate managers about their perceptions of employees. Those who worked extra hours and came in on weekends were perceived more positively and more hard-working, even compared to those who accomplished tasks more frequently and in a shorter amount of time. This is a tricky trap, as rewarding staff for “face time” at the office might de-motivate others who are truly getting results in a timely fashion.
The strategy to accelerate business performance is really not that complicated. Although as a management team we believe we are creating opportunities to accelerate business performance, most of the time we are unintentionally creating barriers and obstacles that keep our employees from executing well. Just follow these 4 simple rules to accelerate business performance in your own organization:
Internal meetings are one of the largest drains on individual time, particularly if they last longer than 60 minutes. In order to improve results, you have to allow time for your team to actually execute. They cannot be working on critical assignments if they are sitting through meetings all day.
Accelerating results is difficult if you are trying to accomplish 10 things at once. Achieving any results at all is impossible if the list of 10 grows to a list of 30. The more you are trying to accomplish at one time, the less likely you are to actually accelerate business performance. Actually, every time you switch focus or juggle multiple tasks/projects at one time, you are increasing your completion time by 25%.
There’s an old adage that still rings true: You don’t get what you expect; you get what you inspect. Everything can be measured, and everything that is important to your company should be measured. To accelerate business performance, you first have to establish a metric for the result that you want. Once you realize where you are currently and where you eventually want to be – quantitatively – break down the metric into incremental gains (quarterly or monthly targets). It is easy to forgive short-term performance lapses if the target is so far in the future that you fall into the trap of believing time can cure your current shortcomings.
A sure-fire way to derail performance is to limit meetings, create focus, and measure everything – and then forget to monitor organizational and individual performance. The more often you discuss results, the faster you will accelerate business performance. Review results quarterly, and improvement will be slow. Review results monthly, and you will moderately accelerate business performance. Review weekly, and then watch how fast you begin to go. The more frequently you’re monitoring progress, the better perception you have to see what’s working, what’s not working, and how you can pivot to improve.