It is possible to immediately boost the productivity of one employee, in this article I’ll tell you how.
I spend a considerable amount of time driving, the result of working with clients that span North America and living in somewhat of a remote community, so it’s not uncommon to frequently come across cars that are travelling well below the posted speed limit (or at least the speed that I prefer to drive at!). Although I’m sure this is likely a situation you’ve encountered as well, have you ever noticed that almost every car you pass speeds up when you’re passing them?
I call this the phenomenon the speed trance. The speed trance results when exposure to a car moving at a higher rate of speed temporarily results in an increased rate of speed in the exposed vehicle. Sounds pretty formal don’t it?
Here’s an even more interesting fact. This same phenomenon exists in organizations as well. An employee who is exposed to another employee that operates at a speed faster then they do, will temporarily increase their work effort and pace.
This phenomenon therefore identifies that if we want to increase the productivity in our organization or team then we need to match highly productive employees with those that are less productive. Matching can be as complex as creating a formal mentoring relationship or as simple as sitting employees in cross-functional teams. The challenge however is not to increase productivity temporarily, but to sustain it at higher levels.
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Next to creating teams in which highly productive employees are exposed to employees who operate at lower levels initiates productivity gains, however they aren’t sustained unless the team is given autonomy to manage their own workload. You see it’s through increased autonomy that employees adopt a sense of responsibility and urgency to collectively manage workload and responsibilities.
So despite the frustration that the speed trance might create when you’re traveling on the highway, consider that there are ways in which you can use the same principle in your teams to increase and sustain higher levels of productivity.
© Shawn Casemore 2015. All rights reserved.