It's that time of year when most of us are given the opportunity to reflect on how the year has started and what has been achieved so far. So what have you achieved during the first quarter of 2018? Are you happy with the progress made or are you settling for more of the same?
This week I am going to share with you what I call the non-negotiables of productivity. These are my absolute non-negotiables. These are the biggest keys to success. And yes there are 14 of them!
If you don't do these - all of these - you will not be maximising the productivity of yourself or your business.
CLARITY ABOUT STRATEGY
Are you clear and committed? Do you have the follow-through mind set? What are the relevant and non-negotiable actions every day that you will be adhering to and accountable to? You must also constantly be asking these two strategic questions: What are your competitors doing in the same situation? How can you beat them?
KNOWING THE NUMBERS
How will you know that you are on the right track? What are the metrics that will be embraced with brutal truth? Are you still committed to the original outcomes you set out to achieve? How often are you looking at your scoreboard?
If your business is going to be strategic about growing for the long term, what is it ultimately that it needs to be known for? How will the external world view the business? Who ultimately are you positioning for? Who do you want to be attracting to the business? How much clarity do you have about the target market? Who are your customers?
In everything you do you are managing people – nothing more, nothing less. You need everybody to bring something to the table and contribute. Not every idea is a game-changer but they all add up. You need the right people in the right roles doing the right things right.
YOUR DEFAULT CALENDAR
You must get tougher and tighter as far as your ‘achieve’ list is concerned and understand the long-term consequences if you don’t continually invest in higher hourly rate tasks. You must manage interruptions. You need time in your calendar just for coming up with ideas. This is what keeps your business a benchmark business.
Everybody must be getting better every day, not by growing team numbers but by improving productivity and effectiveness. If you are constantly going to the edge of the cliff, you will fly or die.
You need to have ‘plan B’ thinking. Be prepared for problems before they arise. Anticipate the choke points in your business. Know the worst-case scenarios and have a plan for them. You can have focus and discipline because all the strategic thinking has been done.
SURVIVING VS THRIVING
It is non-negotiable to be clear about survive vs thrive tasks. It is non-negotiable to be productive rather than just busy. Working on thriving tasks is where the greatest level of future value is created. As a ratio, there’s not enough time spent on thriving tasks in most businesses.
MAKING THE TOUGH DECISIONS
You are a leader in your business and that comes with the responsibility to make tough decisions. You need to embrace this mindset. If you don’t accept this role, your hesitation and inconsistency when making decisions will cause confusion and this will cause you to fail. If you can’t manage this, you shouldn’t be in business. (Brutal truth, remember?)
WHERE ARE WE?
If you want to be a Productivity Diamond you must be brutally honest about where are we versus where we need to be. And where you are vs where you could be. You must ask this question regularly and answer it honestly.
BELIEF SYSTEMS AND PERSISTENCE
Your belief systems and ability to create value must be at personal best. Persistence and pushing through is critical. You must be aligned to your outcomes and your contribution to them. You must be able to handle criticism and feedback. If you cannot handle brutal truth this will place a ceiling on your success.
Future-proofing the business by hiring for the long term is critical. The people in your team must be growing before you add more. Your ability to go to new places has to be continuous and constant. This is your dare factor. Thinking outside the square and honestly analysing what you could be doing better is critical to your success.
Are you learning to professionally say no? This is a critical factor. You must say no to things that are not really for you rather than just saying no because you are busy. It’s about knowing how you should be spending your time for producing maximum value to the business, and then only doing that. It’s also about managing and minimising interruptions (you can never eliminate them completely).
This is the most non-negotiable of them all. Regardless of what happens, you must be working from your strategy up. With everything you do, first ask what is the plan? What is the strategy up vs marketing down? This is key to everything you do. From this, everything follows.
So to repeat what I've said already, I promise you, if you are not doing these - all of these - you will not be maximising the productivity of your business.
So if this Easter you are reading this and asking yourself "what just happened?", I urge you to print off this list and tick off what you are nailing right now and get to work on the rest!
Power to you!
Stefan Kazakis on 5 May 2018
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