April 6, 2015

How Routines Can Sustain High Performance

How to embed performance analytics in our daily routines to maximize personal productivity
Every morning, I start my day with a glass of grapefruit juice followed by my first cup of coffee, as my wife and I make breakfast for our 12-year old son and spend some time with him before he gets on the bus for school.  I then enjoy a little quiet time – I have a lot of blessings. 
After a good right brain start to the day, I start revving up my left brain with weather.com and Google News to see what’s happening.  As my coffee starts to kick in, I check e-mail to see if any clients have any needs and/or concerns that require immediate attention.  I then go to Google Analytics to see how web site traffic is trending.  I next take a quick look at my performance dashboard, which presents current activity and outcome trends, and then I dive into my prioritized Task List activities that I defined at the end of the previous day.  I do this every day.
Over time, I’ve found this routine to be productive for me because I start with quality family time and then transition into satisfying personal information needs before analyzing business process and outcome trends, which give me the good foundation and business understanding I need to prioritize and productively address my work objectives for the day.  In a short period of time, I hit the ground running.
Many client executives have similar routines.  In contrast, I’ve found that few managers, team leaders or team members have the ability to access and analyze their individual or team activity or outcome trends.  As a result, they often lack the focus and ownership required to maximize productivity over time.  How can every employee be empowered to maximize their productivity?  Here are some ideas.
Objectives + Measurement + Competence + Motivation = Sustained High Performance
  1. Define measurable business process objectives for each employee and team/department
  2. Ensure all employees and managers are fully trained – knowledge and skills – to do their jobs
  3. Measure individual and team/department activities and outcomes
  4. Ensure managers/team leaders function as encouraging coaches and mentors
  5. Provide daily or weekly performance feedback with employee and team scorecards
  6. Celebrate/recognize employees and teams who excel at achievement
  7. Provide modest rewards, e.g., dining gift certificates, sports tickets, etc. for achievement
  8. Identify low performing employees and teams as needing training and development
  9. Develop routines for continuous improvement
  10. Be thankful and appreciate everything you have

If we think of every employee as being in business for themselves, then they need business objectives and the ability to measure what they do to achieve those objectives. Daily feedback may be a challenge, but technology has certainly advanced to provide this capability.  Weekly feedback may be more appropriate in some cases.  Monthly feedback is the executive financial cycle, however, it doesn’t enable employees and teams to make necessary and timely adjustments.  Help employees make a difference every day.
Research and experience has revealed that simply providing performance feedback to employees generates a significant productivity increase. Executive leadership is beginning to recognize the value of providing timely enterprise performance feedback.  With a management culture of positive coaching and mentoring, rather than criticism and subordination, along with rewards and recognition for achievement, you’ll be surprised at how quality, productivity and expense metrics will grow stronger.