Three Pillars to Productivity

Could productivity at your workplace use a boost? Gallup Research shows that for the first time in a decade, employee engagement in the U.S.-which was trending upward for nearly a decade, even during much of the pandemic-dropped in the second half of 2021. For many of us, the decline may not be that surprising given all the hurdles of late, including those tied to hiring and retention.

We know productivity can wax and wane for a number of reasons. Yet the goal is always to develop discipline around improving and sustaining engagement. Here are three essential pillars for strong, consistent productivity levels:

Pillar 1: Planning. As the well-known time-management author Alan Lakein says, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” And while there are many reasons why we let planning slip or overlook its value, planning is a core management activity that forms needed direction. It helps you plot out the best strategies and actions for achieving vital goals and how to overcome foreseeable obstacles. At MAP, we recommend and help our clients around two kinds of planning activities-both general planning and contingency planning, or planning for emergencies. Both are important for organizations of all types and sizes.

Pillar 2: Prioritizing. If you’re like most leaders, your list of to-dos can feel endless. There’s always something (if not too many somethings!) to do. That’s where prioritizing comes into play. At the close of each day, develop your top-three goals for the next day-keep them broad in nature, backing them up with an activity “hit list,” which includes the tasks that will help you achieve those planning goals. Write them down or put them on your phone’s notes app or on a calendar. Getting them out of your head, onto paper or into a document you can track will always up the odds of your success. If you’re not sure what’s a priority, use the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 Rule, as a guide, choosing the 20 percent of activities that will drive 80 percent of the results you seek.

Pillar 3: Purpose. What’s the “why” behind your work? What motivates you to lead others in your organization and simply do whatever it is that you do? And what inspires connection to your organization’s mission? Finding and really understanding your purpose at work is key to establishing and maintaining engagement, not just for you, but for those you lead. If you’ve lost your motivation or sense of purpose, which can happen to even the best of leaders at times, take the time to explore the reason behind that, creating strategies and action steps that re-build engagement. You may also find it’s time to make changes within the work itself that allow engagement to take seed and grow.

Need help motivating, building engagement and boosting productivity levels? MAP Consulting can help. Reach out today!

Originally published at on May 19, 2022.




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MAP is a performance improvement firm. Follow us to receive tips, advice, updates and more to help you be a better leader.

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