From a management perspective there are a number of ways to painlessly and judiciously boost the productivity of even the self-starters on your team. The typical internal monologue inspired by receiving “the talk” goes something like, “Well, I could be getting a lot more done if I wasn’t wasting my time in this sit-down,” and, snarky as this may be, it contains a kernel of truth.
According to Michael Mankins, a partner at Bain & Company and the co-author of “Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power,” the average business loses around a quarter of its productive capacity to processes written into its organizational bureaucracy. As such, management has the opportunity to significantly improve its workforce’s productivity and create more self-starters simply by unleashing the potential lost to “organizational drag.” In other words, in most situations a manager need not ask her team to increase its output, only its efficiency.
The average business loses around a quarter of its productive capacity to processes written into its organizational bureaucracy.
But what is the most effective way to approach mitigating organizational drag? While there are many approaches that may differ from company to company, we believe that automated workplace tools are a great starting point. At first glance, the connection between self-starters, autonomy and automated workplace tools may seem like a stretch, but a closer look reveals that the two are often closely related. Employee autonomy must be built first and foremost on trust, but this doesn’t mean that managers should adopt a completely hands-off approach. Giving employees their space, allowing them to work in whatever manner they prefer as long as they produce, is certainly a key step toward building autonomy. That being said, a manager’s job is still, well, management, and even within environments where a premium has been placed on autonomy, managers still need to retain the ability to monitor productivity.
Employee autonomy must be built first and foremost on trust, but this doesn’t mean that managers should adopt a completely hands-off approach.