Work Efficiency Equation For Managers And High Performers
How do you measure your own work efficiency?
When referring to a person’s efficiency, measuring work output/work input is not enough. Instead, there are six variables that determine a person’s work efficiency:
Speed + Accuracy + Foresight + Repeatability + Agility + Respect = An Efficient Employee or Manager
If you focus on these six variables, continuously strive as an individual to improve them and teach your employees to develop their own efficiency skills, you will create a high performance environment based on accountability, teamwork and results. Sounds good right? So how efficient are you? Do you consider it one of your strengths? Which variables are you good at and which ones do you need to develop?
Here are six areas you need to focus on to make efficiency a success mechanism for your career.
Speed is not only how quickly something gets done, but also how quickly information is processed and transformed through others. Grasping information is difficult for people; it requires good listening, organizational and communication skills. Gathering information, having confidence that you understand it and ensuring others understand you are also important aspects of speed.
- Learn to speed read, take in larger amounts of information and make it actionable.
- Learn to ask questions and process answers that you and others can take action on.
- Don’t procrastinate, when something needs to get done, get it done.
- Create a daily to-do list. Check items off as you complete them. If something comes up, add it to the list and finish what you were already working on.
You and others should consistently have confidence in your work product. If someone asks you “Are you sure this is correct?” you should be able to answer yes. This confidence comes from accumulating lots of corroborating data, dissecting it, and knowing you have looked at, and verified every part of your work given the amount of time you had to get it done in.
- If you are working with numbers, run a cross check on your calculations at least two different ways to verify the logic.
- If you are working with concepts, get feedback from key individuals prior to formalizing your ideas
- The more you do your own accuracy check, the less often you will be questioned.
- The more you expect accuracy from your employees; you can free yourself to work on other things.
Always consider the big picture. Your work may impact customers, other departments, investments, budgets, time lines, etc. Making assumptions and verifying next steps with those you will impact, allows you to incorporate them upfront into your work so that no rework needs to happen. You need to ensure that the process flow of your decisions is sound.
- If you are proposing a sales contract, make sure to incorporate any follow-up that needs to happen by other departments in your company prior to making the pitch. You don’t want to make promises that fall short once you get the customer on board.
- If you are creating a budget, make sure to incorporate the needs of all departments/parties. Instead of last year plus 3%…be specific. Some spending should be going down and why, some up and why. What is happening in the market, what contingencies are required?
- If preparing a capital project expenditure proposal, make sure you evaluate not only the theoretical payback, but also the process changes that will be made as a result of the CAPEX. What earned profits will be generated by the changes you are proposing? What other processes will be impacted by the company’s investment that could lead to further improvements and profits?
This is really repeatability and assign-ability. Have you ever created a report or spreadsheet that you go back to and cannot remember where you got the data? Or made a correction to something in one place but cannot remember how to do that same correction in other areas? If you do things differently every time, you are wasting your time. Once you find an efficient way of doing or managing, you should be able to repeat it, or have others repeat it until you make additional universal improvements.
- Take notes when you work, keep them in a notebook, not stickies all over your desk.
- Embed your assumptions into your spreadsheet or directly in your PowerPoint presentations.
- If you are part of a team, conduct lessons learned meetings after successes and failures and share the “upgrades” you have made in your own work to ensure they are spread to others.
- Document, Teach, Verify & Repeat
You should always try to maintain a philosophy of continuous improvement and adaptability. This pertains to your work, as well as your understanding and opinions of things. Don’t be afraid to modify your work if you find a better way of doing things, or if you compile more information than you had when you originally created your work product. If you take each factor of efficiency and continue to learn, you have to change things or at least make the decision to keep things the same despite your new information. The reality is that if you are accurate, always collecting data/information, building work product that is repeatable, and understand the implications of everything you do, then you should be able to modify things very easily.
- If you have additional information, use it, don’t hold on to it and be afraid to admit that your previous assumptions were wrong.
- If you have several ideas to make improvements but do not have the time to address them as they come in, collect them in one place and conduct regular process reviews.
- Don’t hang on to the past if it does not make sense for the future.
Have respect for your own work product, as well as the input from others in your company.
- Incorporate the ideas of others into your own work.
- Get buy in for your ideas prior to presenting them.
- Communicate your ideas with the intent to bring others to your conclusion.
- Listen to feedback with an open mind and willingness to improve things.
Ultimately, if you are a high performer, you should be able to describe efficiency as one of your greatest strengths. By referencing our efficiency equation and using each component as an area of focus for your own development, or the professional development of your employee’s, you will generate results that will set you up for success, as well as allow you to move faster through your work with confidence. The more efficient you are, the more you can do, and the more accomplishments you will accumulate.
Written by Lisa Woods, President Lisa Woods Consulting & Founder of ManagingAmericans.com
Lisa is a dynamic business leader & author located in Western New York with more than 20 years experience leading, managing and driving growth in the corporate world. Today she partners with business leaders to understand their vision, identify internal and external roadblocks, define a practical strategic path forward and guide a successful transformation. This work includes strategy definition & goal setting, organizational design, facilitating team buy-in, establishing visual metrics, internal and external research studies, business feasibility assessments, and investor insight into organizational strength, weakness & strategic opportunity. She helps business leaders drive growth & increase profits.
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