3 simple productivity hacks that will improve culture

“Culture is what happens when the managers leave the room – doing what’s right in the absence of authority.” – Vala Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist, Salesforce

Work cultures matter. More precisely, the values, behaviours and attitudes that underpin how people within organisations go about their day to day activities. The benefits of culture are spoken about by leaders, but are simple productivity techniques in place to make it possible?

Forbes report surveying more than 1,400 US CEOs revealed most executives believe that company culture is essential for their business to thrive. Ninety percent felt that improving company culture would improve value and over 50% said a positive culture supports increased levels of productivity, creativity and overall growth rates.

Does culture influence the level of productivity or does productivity impact culture? Which one do you have to get right first? It’s a bit of a classic chicken and egg scenario!!! I say don’t waste a second in delaying to maximise productivity because it makes implementing other initiatives easier.

Where can you start? Three simple productivity hacks that will improve culture are?

1.  Email – isn’t the job instead it’s a tool to do the job. A study by McKinsey Global Institute found the average knowledge worker spends 28% of work time managing email.

To reduce time spent on email:

  • Get out of your inbox – actions live in either the calendar or as tasks

  • Turn off alarms – unless your job is just to respond to emails, you don’t need the interruption of a new email arriving in your inbox

  • Batch – process your email in groups instead of checking for emails 10+ times an hour

  • Rules – use rules to reduce noise

  • Storage and retrieval – have a simple folder structure to easily store and retrieve emails

2.  Meetings – Ibid report that managers attend an average of 61.8 meetings per month. Fifty percent of meeting time is believed to be wasted.  

To reduce meeting waste, do SWOT analysis with your team to review:

  • Meeting duration – challenge the length of meetings

  • Duplication of effort – how many of your team attend the same meeting

  • All or only part of the meeting – for all meetings are you required attend the entire meeting or are you only required for say a 15 minute window?

  • Same meeting attendees required – to reduce the number of meetings an individual attends, can attendees be rotated?

3.  Trust – great teams treat each other with have high levels of respect and trust. Stephen Covey said “The fastest way to build trust is to make a commitment and keep it, then repeat that process. The opposite is true when you violate a commitment.” 

To keep commitments, review your:

  • Workflow – are you able to process your work easily?

  • Planning – does your plan consider capacity, requirements and existing commitments?

  • Scheduling – does the schedule align with the plan and are you executing it in a timely manner?

Leverage productivity to embed a culture of high performing teams by developing a rhythm of work that relieves pressure and achieves better outcomes in less time.