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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why Aren't We Getting Anything Done?

As BNET reports, U.S. companies’ return on assets (ROA) have progressively dropped 75% from their 1965 level despite rising labor productivity. Even the highest-performing companies are struggling to maintain their ROA rates and are increasingly losing their positions as market leaders.

In essence, we’re getting less done. Why? Lots of reasons, but let’s hone in on one… How long does it take to identify a problem, evaluate the opportunity or challenge, strategize a course of action, create a plan and execute? How many task forces do you put into place, how many meetings are held, and how many people are offering feedback before anything gets done? And worse, how many times do the task teams fall apart, lose focus and momentum, and fail to follow through on goals or actually take any positive forward action?

It’s hard work and it takes strong self-management skills, determination and a real commitment to get things done in the operating environments of many businesses today. Too many initiatives hit a wall when the real work needs to get actioned. Everything we do doesn’t need to be accomplished by a team. We need to empower individuals – coach them to reach out to key stakeholders to ensure everyone is aligned and on board, seek guidance from experts and colleagues – and work smarter and faster.

As leaders, we need to ensure we aren’t road blocks to productivity. It may feel risky to loosen control and resist micromanaging. But a good leader empowers his or her people in ways that make employees want to do their best. Encourage employees to work to their strengths. It’s in our nature to be driven to perform and achieve personal accomplishments. Give power to individuals and then recognize and reward them for taking the initiative, running with a solution, and coach – rather than direct or criticize – if the course of action needs to be adjusted. The end result is better performance, higher productivity and stronger commitment.

How much are your employees getting done these days?

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