Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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6 Ways for Business Leaders to Improve Productivity Over the Summer

Summer is a wonderful opportunity to take a breath and celebrate what you’ve accomplished during the first 6 months of the year. Summer is also a great time to assess, reevaluate, and tweak processes that lead to greater profitability.

What should business managers look at right now to improve over the summer??

1. Start at the bottom. Look at what the lowest paid people in your organization are doing, how they are doing it, and how they are compensated and cared for by their supervisors.

I think you can tell a great deal about a hotel by interacting with the housekeeping staff. Are they happy? Are they cheerful? Do they seem glad to help?

Many leaders only deal with their direct reporting managers, and they sometimes ignore the contributions and perspectives of the people at the lowest levels. For an organization to be supremely successful, every member of the team must be valued.

2. Go behind the scenes. If you’ve ever watched a restaurant show, they always show you what’s going on in the kitchen, because that is where the real work happens.

If a news crew came into the actual workspace of your business, would you be proud or horrified? Look at operations in the warehouse, in the employee spaces, and your own space. Are you news-crew ready? Can you be proud of the processes of your organization? Are your operations smooth? Does everyone know what he or she is supposed to do, even during slow times?

3. Look at the cracks. In every organization, great ideas fall through the cracks. Do you have a way to capture those ideas?

People at all levels of an organization have great ideas on how to save time, money, and resources. What are you doing to make sure those great ideas are heard? Once they are heard, do you take action?

Note: Suggestion boxes are nowhere near enough. Suggestions today are usually more complicated than one index card. (Although they may also be simple, such as “Open the doors when customers are standing outside. ”) Do you have a way for all of your people to offer suggestions?

Employees at all levels need to be able to discuss money-saving ideas with the decision-makers who can actually implement them. Workers need to know that their suggestions are carefully considered and that there is a benefit to making good suggestions that help the company. Remember, small groups designed for brainstorming with employees and key leaders only works if there is a high level of mutual trust.

4. See what your customers see online. Google your company. What comes up? Is it an accurate picture of what you do? Are you proud of what people find online? Do you have newsworthy items that are not showing up? If not, consider increasing your public profile through press releases, news stories, and check the SEO (search engine optimization) of your web profiles.

5. Know your adwords. Google the words that people would use to find your company if they did not know your name. Do they find your competitors instead of you? Do you show up? If not, look at your keywords and tag lines. Go to Google Adwords here and type in the words you think people are searching for to get your product or service. You can see what people are searching for and you can align your keywords to match how customers search.

6. Management by Walking Around. Remember that? It still holds true. Get up and walk around. Every day. See and be seen. Be approachable.

Lots of ideas are floating around that you may not know about if people don’t see and feel as though they can talk with you. There are issues that you will just not know if you stay in your office. What do you do if you have people working in alternate locations? Call or email just to ask how things are going. Then listen.


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