Picture of assembly line. Image by thaianeoliveira from Pixabay

Image by thaianeoliveira from Pixabay

It is my firm belief that for many of us our next break-through in growth in business is hidden behind letting go of something long held to be a key with growth in business: productivity.

Bear with me here. Don’t close this email and go back to work. I’ll show you why quickly so you can still feel productive!

I think for many of us, as business owners and leaders, giving up a focus on productivity – in our worlds – will lead to a massive shift in our results.

I am a strange source for this. Companies often pay me to train them on Time Magicment(™) so I know productivity. I even wrote the book on time management.

I do believe there is a time and place for productivity. But I also believe that many of us leaders are doing it the wrong way.

Productivity Measures The Wrong Thing

Productivity is all about getting things done.

And a lot of productivity is about having systems that work.

And for most things in business that is just what you want: having systems that get things done.

But not for you. Not if you are truly a business leader.

If you are employee, sure. If you are working for some else this might be the right metric for you.

But if you are truly the leader your work should, inherently, be non-structured. In fact the farther you get along the Journey to CEO the more your work should be strategic and not fit into a structure.

So productivity measures getting tasks done. But that’s not your job as a leader. So it’s measuring the wrong thing for you!

What We Need To Do Is Not Well Measured

True leaders should be innovating, looking for opportunities and creating new solutions. These are the types of actions that are not well measured.

I mean how do you measure creating new solutions? Most of them aren’t going to work anyway. But here and there one will and it’s impact can be massive.

Add to this a lot of your time should be spent learning, understanding and applying ideas to facts. This deep understanding and knowledge takes time and effort to complete. And, under most productivity measures, you’d be considered unproductive.

Sure you can measure raw hours that go into thinking and developing new ideas. But there is something more. Something that is missing.

The truth is leading and growing a business really can’t be measured except by looking at the bottom line results over a long period of time.

Even When We Are In A System We Shouldn’t Be Being “Productive”

Systems are a key to business. I write about it often and I believe it.

But if we are the leaders of the business we have more to do than to be in the systems and being productive.

In fact when we are working within a process in our business that has a strong system around it we should be doing the exact opposite of being productive: we should be breaking things.

That’s right. As a leader we should be testing systems, finding their weak spots, and breaking them. It’s our job to make them better so our business survives, and thrives, in it’s future.

So in reality we should be the opposite of productive, in many cases, when overseeing the business.

Our Impact Is Different

Our impact, as business owners and leaders, is on the future of the business. It shouldn’t be, at least not regularly, about current results.

And that’s what productivity is. It’s about getting the most results for the least inputs.

But our job is about transformation. Transformation is messy.

Transformation is not measured like productivity.

A lot of times we need to break things before we can fix them. That looks about as unproductive as can be.

The Place For Productivity

Now all of this said there is a place for productivity.

There should be repeating actions in your business. And those need to be done well and efficiently.

There are almost always ways to do things better when they repeat over and over. And someone should be making sure that’s happening.

Testing, improving and creating productivity systems is a great place for leadership to invest time as the hours invested in improvement could be returned many fold.

What To Do Next

So if you are the business owner addicted to productivity I have one simple thing to tell you: stop!

It may take awhile to rewire your brain. But your job is to create and innovate and make the business productive. Your job is NOT to be productive!

NOTE: This article is a piece develop a small portion of the content of the book tentatively called The Journey: Finding Your Place From Entrepreneur to CEO being co-authored by The Our Shawn McBride and Ann Gatty. If you want updates on the book including the possibility of joining our release team or getting one of the first copies please join our mailing list here.

By: The Our Shawn McBride, is the business nerd and long-time business attorney that focuses on changes of ownership in businesses. He works with business owners that know their business is about more than themselves to get ready for their future through keynotes, training and personalized solutions. In furtherance of this he hosts The Future Done Right(TM) Show where he collects, digests and gives lessons and insights on The Future of Business. If you want regular content on the future of business subscribe to get new blog posts from us here.

You’ll quickly notice his unusual suits which he uses open the conversation of how businesses should Do Business Differently™.

The Our Shawn is based in DeLand, Florida (between Orlando, Florida and Daytona Beach, Florida) and Dallas, Texas where he keeps offices. You can also find Shawn on webinars or traveling nationally or internationally for speaking engagements.

Check me out at: www.planningdoneright.com

NOTE: This article contains links to sites where I may be paid a small commission on your purchase.

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