We are in an exciting time of disruptive change. Now, more than ever before, human resources professionals lead the way with a need for exceptional service within organizations and fulfilling important roles that benefit everyone. As business leaders and recruitment strategies decision makers, we know we don’t have time to do everything; we only have time to do what matters.
What matters most to your organization? What actually matters to your employees?
To continue offering exceptional support to our business, serving our organization and focusing on strategy, we need a constant mindset of execution. It’s easy to be busy; busy is not productive. We can no longer abide by the rules of “time management”. The old way of managing time doesn’t work. We must begin paying attention to what matters most.
In order to best serve our thriving and changing organizations, we need to be the CEO: Chief EXECUTION Officer.
Productivity requires implementation and execution.
The word execute means to ‘carry out or to perform’ and it derives from Latin exsequi, “carry out, follow up; punish.” As talent acquisition solutions professionals, we need to build teams with strong reputations for execution, follow-up, and productivity.
Here are 5 strategies to accelerate productivity and build a reputation as the leader who executes:
Change the way you view time. Instead of thinking in 30 and 60-minute increments, reduce the time to 15 minutes.
Consider focusing on completing actions in 15 minutes: i.e. respond to emails, host a 1:1 with one of your leaders, complete a business call, review your employee hiring process, or reach out into your organization about potential partnerships.
People feel they don’t have an hour anymore; the key is to take action in 15-minute increments. Can you encourage your team to begin approaching projects, meetings, and completion in 15-minutes? Encourage all meetings to be conducted in 15-minute increments. Suggest that supervisors invest 15 minutes each week in additional training for the team to explore professional development opportunities. Perhaps ask for their input on current recruitment tools used for acquiring top talent.
What can you achieve in 15 minutes that will get you closer to the achievement of your organizational goals?
It’s the art of compressing time. Consider if you have 2 weeks to make a decision, how long does it take you? 2 weeks, right? If you have 2 minutes to make a decision, it takes you 2 minutes… can we compress activities into 15-minute increments?
Yes, you read this right! If you are holding meetings because you have the same meeting week after week, consider changing routine! Unless you have a strong agenda and a reason to invest everyone’s time, cancel the meeting. If you can’t cancel, consider reducing the meeting time by half. Complete an experiment, for your next meeting, halve the time and encourage the team to stick closely to the agenda. Meetings are an important part of every organization, however invest time this month to determine if all the meetings you are hosting are operating effectively. Is an agenda being followed, are actions being agreed upon and implemented as a result of the meetings? Are we moving the organization forward? Are we hiring people that are helping or hindering this process? If you decide a meeting is necessary, ensure that the following objectives are met to guarantee success for all those in attendance:
- Publish the purpose of the meeting – in your meeting invitation, explain the purpose in one sentence. Let attendees know what you will do and keep it action-oriented, i.e. brainstorm, decide, determine next steps, finalize the project, debrief event, talent acquisition. Be specific.
- Stop being rude – email is not more important than the meeting. Give participants a reason to pay attention and lead by example.
- Shorten meetings – instantly halve your meetings and see what happens. Stop wasting people’s time. If you host 60-minute meetings, try 30 minutes. If you host 30 minutes, try 15 minutes. People will thank you when you give them back their time.
- Consider device-free meetings – if you are brainstorming new ideas or handling staff solutions, or a tough conversation, ask people to put away devices to pay attention for short periods of time.
- Control side-bar conversations, disruptive attendees, and tangential conversations with this simple (and assertive) line ‘For the sake of time, let’s move on’ – keep the conversation moving.
- Summarize actions before the meeting ends – allocate owners and time frames to actions and ask people to report back between meetings with progress. A meeting with no agreed outcomes is a waste of time.
- Listen with your eyes – show people you are listening to them by being involved in the conversation, asking relevant questions, and probing for more answers. Use your body language to actively participate and pay attention.
One of the greatest gifts you can give your team is your undivided attention. As busy professionals, it is easy to frustrate the team if you are constantly distracted by hiring practices, meetings, emails, and not focused on conversations. Distraction is perceived as disrespectful. Investing your attention, looking employees, colleagues, leaders, and peers in the eye when you communicate will achieve more. Put down your smartphone and encourage your team to do the same.
When you give the gift of your undivided attention to those with whom you work, they’ll do the same for those in their lives. Your relationships and conversations will be elevated.
Choose Three Strategies:
Focus your attention on your top three deliverables. Your to-do list is always growing and your email keeps coming. If we just focused on activities we wouldn’t be productive, we’d just be busy. True leaders know they need to prioritize the highest-impact objectives. Three is the magic number and allows people to retain focus. Make sure your strategies are:
- Repeatable (others can share them throughout the organization)
- Relatable (others understand how it affects them)
- Recognizable (others can see the impact of those strategies).
As a leader, your role is to focus on strategies you can execute! Share your goals thoroughly and often and watch the vision become clear for all of those in your organization.
Take regular breaks from technology; remove yourself from your email, and the minutia that is draining your focus and energy. As the leader, invest in the contextual deliverables, the big picture, the strategy – that’s it! Leave the details to those around you to execute. Clarity and vision are often created when you step away from the everyday operations and allow yourself to brainstorm how to do things differently; how to continually disrupt the way we have always done things.
Here are steps that you and your team can implement to disconnect from both digital and daily distractions in order to focus on what matters most:
- Turn OFF your phones. It’s all right. That magical device that is glued to hands seemingly every waking minute of the day, delivering phone calls, chats, text messages, and emails at an often-alarming rate, does turn off. So does the desk phone! Take 30 minutes to create space for focus. It will all be there when you turn it back on. It’s just an hour. And there’s voicemail! If it’s important, they’ll leave a message or call back. If you want to maximize productivity – turn off your phones.
- Close your door. If you’ve got one. This sends a signal to your team (or your family if you are a work-from-home entrepreneur) that you are unavailable unless there is an emergency. If you are new to the practice, educate your team on what procedures you want to have in place when your door is closed. Once everyone is on board that this is your time to create, get strategic, think about how to recruit top talent, work a business plan, and map out your day, they’ll recognize the importance. Especially when they see the RESULTS. If you are forced to work in an open environment, consider headphones. I used this technique in one organization, and people eventually got the idea that when your headphones are in, it’s the equivalent of a do-not-disturb sign.
- Use smart time-blocking. My recommendations? Book all meetings to start after 9.00 am. If you’ve always had early morning meetings, this might be a tough change, but if needed, can you start your “clock” an hour earlier to ensure that you have a full 30 minutes to complete your planning?
- Start off-site if possible. Can you complete your 30-minute mindset and strategy session BEFORE you walk through your office doors? That way when you are actually in office – you hit the ground running. Once you’ve mastered this, teach your team. Once they’ve mastered it – your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will go through the roof. A study done by Ctrip shared that remote workers are able to complete 13.5% more than their comparable office workers. How’s that for food for thought?
- Quit the clutter. Seriously. Inboxes. Coffee cups. Paperwork piles. These distractions are stealing brain bandwidth and steering your attention away from streamlining your day. Out with them! Maximize productivity by decreasing visual distractions.
- Check off that early-morning workout. If you can muster it, get your exercise out of the way first thing. Start small if you have (15-30-minute increments) but do start. You’ll feel like you’ve already checked one big daily goal off your to-do list! Cheers!
- Nip the gossip in the bud. Honestly, gossip is one of the biggest time, energy, and productivity drains an organization can have. We Aussies call a gossip a “flibbertigibbet”. Studies show that 39% of workers admit that gossip and workplace chat are their biggest productivity killers. Another study conducted by Equisys also shared that the average employee spends 65 hours a year gossiping in the workplace! Cull this invasive “thief” from your company if you truly want to maximize productivity.
As busy business professionals, we must drive our organizations by focusing on the things that truly matter, that truly require execution. What can you do with your team this week to move the business forward?
Employees that are empowered to be honest, innovative and individual leaders are those that will boost your overall company performance, profits and well-being. Focus on the best recruitment strategies for hiring good employees. Invest in what matters most to your workers, and they’ll do the same for you and your organization. Get started with these three steps:
- Map it Out. Create a roadmap that allows each member of your team to see the big-picture goals you are striving for as an organization, and the roles they play in it. Share with them how their “piece of the puzzle” fits into the success of both the company, and theirs as well. Then, hold them accountable for staying the course.
- Coach Them. What I mean by this, is really being present with your employees to assess their strengths and areas of enhancement, and invest in the training and development that will help them soar. That might mean brainstorming solutions. Scheduling one-on-ones with them. Disconnecting from devices and distractions when you are meeting with them so you get the scope of what they need to be their most successful. Reviewing hiring questions for talent acquisition. When your team members know that you are engaged in helping them thrive, their loyalty, job satisfaction, employee engagement, and willingness to jump all soar.
- Motivate Them. They key to motivating anyone is to find out what motivates THEM as individuals. Surprisingly enough, money is NOT always the biggest factor in motivation. For some, it may be giving them a stronger leadership role. For others, it might be shifting their work hours so they have more family time. For someone else, it might be including them on specific teams, or sending them to a conference or training that will advance their knowledge and ability to hit goals. Spend some real. one-on-one time with your employees and find out what sparks them to jump out of bed and hit the ground running every day. Once you know that, you can help guide and motivate them to discover their own greatness.
To increase the productivity of your team, lead by example, and allow others to step into their brilliance by empowering them to execute the details of the strategies you create. Now that’s productive!
Do you have any workplace or personal leadership stories? Any great tips or advice about to execute as a leader you’d like to share? We’d love to hear what you’ve got. Comment below, and connect with us on Social Media!