In the workplace, the word efficiency is often used to motivate employees to get quality work done quickly. Similarly, the word productivity is about doing more than just the average day’s work.
Now, imagine how much more work you could get done, and in a shorter time span, without the burden of bureaucratic formalities like formal meetings and mornings spent responding to emails. To avoid organizational drag and release a company’s true productive potential, leaders need to manage human capital with the same rigor they use to manage their financial capital.
Michael Mankins, co-author of “Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power” and a partner at Bain & Company, a business management consultancy, said the average organization loses about 25 percent of its productive capacity to factors such as organizational bureaucracy and formal processes. “If companies relied more on the judgement of their employees and workforce and less on adherence to processes, then organizational drag would go down considerably,” he said. “When you start to treat time like the scarce resource that it is, with the same discipline as you would use with money, you start to immediately cut through organizational drag and liberate unproductive time.”
Talent management is a priority for most leaders. To maximize work potential, manage talent more effectively. Mankins said that one in every seven employees is a “star employee” — someone with the ability to have an outsized impact on strategy, execution and performance. What differentiates leading productive organizations from the rest are the way employees are deployed, how they’re teamed up and how they’re led. “The best performing companies focus their star talent on business-critical roles,” he explained. “They intentionally put more star players in the positions that matter most.”
Mankins and his team asked executives from 300 large companies worldwide how much more productive an inspired employee was rather than just a satisfied employee. Answers showed that inspired employees were 125 percent more productive. Companies can unleash this discretionary energy by granting employees more autonomy and aligning the company’s purpose with a greater objective so they can be truly inspired.
Another important aspect of productivity is inspirational leadership, which Mankins said can be taught. Organizations that focus their time and energy on building inspirational leaders who can inspire a larger percentage of their workforce benefit in more ways than increased efficiency. These organizations often can generate more ideas per day that produce advantages over their competitors, which helps them grow more quickly.
Learning leaders can play a pivotal role in this by harnessing a company’s inspirational leadership capabilities. Inspire leaders to build leadership competences in managers, for instance, which Mankins said can be done through effective corporate learning programs.
Camaron Santos is an editorial intern for Chief Learning Officer magazine. Comment below or email editor@CLomedia.com.