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Can You Increase Employee Productivity by 20X?

During the past several months I’ve had an ongoing rivalry with a colleague and close friend of mine as to whether the Blue Jays would beat the Cubs in the World Series. It turns out we were both wrong. Our banter back and forth has been cordial, but laden with suggestions as to which team is the best. Obviously our views are significantly influenced by where we live, and more importantly by our dedication to our team.

Truth be told however, when the Kansas City Royals beat out the Blue Jays it was because Kansas City was the better team. Unfortunately diehard Blue Jays fans would disagree and point to numerous missed calls that are the underlying issue.

I find this misguided and unfounded argument to be prominent in business as well. It’s not uncommon when I speak with a CEO asking questions about how effective their teams are, how supportive their leadership is and to what extent they are shifting autonomy to their employees that they begin to tell me everything they are doing right, whether or not it aligns with my question or not.

Look, the reality we face today is simple. We are operating organizations and even small businesses using an archaic model of leadership that was derived from the military. Things have changed, people have changed and if we think we can continue to shoe horn our employees into an environment that decisions and communication flow up and directives and instructions flow down we are simply kidding ourselves.

It’s time to break the mold and let go of our fanatical beliefs of what once was relevant is still so today. It’s time to begin to remove front line leadership in support of providing more autonomy and responsibility to employees; it’s time that CEOs spend more time with groups and individuals from the front line (rather then expect their senior leadership team to do so), thus increasing employee productivity.

In virtually every organization I enter, with rare exception, there is information and feedback that front line employees have that would be highly valuable to the CEO, yet unfortunately the information never makes it’s way to the top, mostly on account of the broken hierarchy of leadership that restricts and filters information as it trickles upwards.

Today is the day that we need to stop kidding ourselves and agree that the horsepower of our organization is in the hands and minds of our employees, we simply need to provide them with an environment and tools that actually help them to show us what they can really do.

P.S. My latest book, Operational Empowerment is now available. This has been described by my editor as a great playbook for CEOs, Executives and Directors who want to increase productivity and create a distinct competitive advantage in their market. You can grab your copy here.

© Shawn Casemore 2015. All rights reserved.

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