Are you feeling the pressure of fewer organizational resources and rising productivity expectations? You need to get the most out of your team.
These days, many leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs have the same fundamental problem. They have a great product or service and a great business model, but they have fewer resources than they’d like. They may be understaffed without the budget to hire additional personnel, or they may not have the cash to purchase expensive systems or infrastructure upgrades that could increase productivity. If this describes you and your team, here are five strategies for maximizing your productivity on limited resources by getting the most out of each team member.
Show Your Team the Big Picture
People like to understand how their contributions positively impact the organization especially if you are to create a highly successful startup. Think about an offensive lineman on a football team. He is not interested in blocking members of the opposing team just for the sake of blocking them. He blocks them to make a hole for a running back or to give the quarterback time to complete a pass. When done effectively, the lineman’s blocks help the team score. If he didn’t understand the purpose behind his efforts, the pain wouldn’t be worth it. Similarly, when a team member focuses on how the organization’s limited resources affect him or her personally, the result will be frustration. When a team member focuses on how he or she can help the team meet productivity metrics despite limited resources, the result will be motivation and pride.
Evaluate Your Organization’s Priorities
Make a list of every task your organization accomplishes on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. Consider whether each one furthers the organization’s productivity. If not, stop doing it! Divert that manpower to more essential tasks which are not being accomplished effectively. For instance, many organizations get caught in an endless cycle of reporting. Reporting is inherently unproductive; it is essentially time spent reviewing tasks that have already been accomplished. Make sure that any reporting requirements imposed on your organization are an essential part of maintaining productivity.
Focus on Each Team Member’s Morale
A team member with low morale is not likely to give you maximum effort. If you are getting less than maximum effort from each team member, your productivity is less than optimal. Get to know the members of your team on a personal level. This won’t take resources (except a little bit of your time). If one of your team members is unhappy, for whatever reason, consider whether you can address the problem and improve morale. If you can’t, just be available to listen. Your team members will go above and beyond for you when their morale is high.
Develop a System of Rewards
People respond positively to rewards. They work harder if they know that doing so will benefit them. You can simply offer an award, such as Employee of the Month, or something more tangible. No matter the reward or criteria, make sure that the system is administered with regularity and visibility, motivating all team members to increase their productivity.
Develop a System of Punishment
This may be the most difficult to implement, but too often, the system of punishment in a business begins and ends with being fired. A more graduated system of punishment will help reform members of your team who could perform better but haven’t yet done anything worthy of being fired. The key to any system of punishment is to ensure that it is administered consistently and fairly so that each team member knows the consequences they can expect from the sub-par performance.
Working with limited resources is not the end of the world. In fact, in these economic times, it’s not even unique. By critically evaluating how you can get more out of your team members, you can impress your boss and inflate the bottom line by increasing your team’s productivity even while losing resources.