As business people, we know that more efficiency and productivity bring more profits. Yet, as humans, we know that none of us are machines. If we push to make our tasks more efficient–controlling the details, making it right–we will hit a wall. None of us wants to be pressured. Under pressure, resistance grows, confidence drops, and performance drags.
Does this mean we cannot push for profits? Hardly.
The trick to sustained profit is to make the whole environment more efficient. Start with a clear and compelling story about who you are and where you are going. Commit to win-win with all who matter. Build systems (e.g. communication expectations, project tracking, norms for meetings, commitment and follow-through standards, and roles defined by results) to support a natural rhythm of activity. And adjust your thoughts and beliefs away from what feels bad (e.g. “Nobody gets anything done right.”) to what feels great (e.g. “I bet we can figure this out. It’ll be great when we do.”).
Your value as leader is not what gets done and how well it gets done. Your value is in how well you give up control of the details, let failure happen, guide the learning from that failure, hold people accountable, and maintain steadfast faith in and focus on the desired, big results.
In your corner,
PS: All of this is true whether we are speaking of ourselves or our team.
PPS: I can hear some of you asking, “What about continuous improvement? Surely it pays to make the tasks more and more efficient!” Yes!! And it’s not your job. It’s the team’s job. Your job is to set up the environment so that they can make those improvements. And they will do all that and more once you drop the responsibility and give it to them.
PPPS: See where the really big profits come from?
PPPPS: When you make this shift, you’ll sleep better, too.