Show me the Money
Productivity at its basis, signifies the rate of output per unit of input. The phrase echoes an era where people were seen as elements in a production line, measured by the amount of time it would take them to produce a single item. But in today’s knowledge based economy, this measure of productivity no longer holds true, making it increasingly difficult to evaluate people’s’ performance.
It’s challenging to measure knowledge based workers purely by the output of their productivity. Quality is often important, meaning that the sheer amount of time spent on a project, or the final work delivered may not be directly related to the person’s productivity. In today’s knowledge based economy, if organizations focus solely on measuring productivity as the volume of output of people’s work, they are likely to find themselves with a stressed and disengaged workforce that feels misunderstood.
When people are disengaged, it is most likely they are not at their most productive since they don’t feel attached to the company. Yet according to a Gallup study, organisations with high rates of engagement experience 21% higher productivity. When people feel strongly connected to a company, they are more motivated and therefore more naturally inclined to be productive, contributing to their organisation’s success.
Taking Ownership vs. Being Accountable
Many people either consider the terms “Taking Ownership” and “Being Accountable” interchangeable, or they forget about taking ownership altogether and focus only on holding people accountable for their actions and goals. But there are some very subtle (and highly important) differences between the two that change how we look at them in terms of our own actions, as well as the results we ask of our people.
- Taking Ownership is about HOW you accomplish your goals; and
- Being Accountability refers to WHAT your goals are.
Rather than merely striving for an overall accountability goal, taking ownership means you do whatever is necessary to ensure quality service every step of the way, so that when all tasks are added together, you not only succeed at achieving the goal, but ensure that each task necessary to achieve it is highly successful in its own right.
For example, this month you may have served 20 people well and reached your accountability goal, but you may have also dis-served 30 others in the process. If you’re focused solely on the goal, rather than on the individual experiences and interactions that comprise the goal, you basically allow yourself to believe that it’s OK not to WOW any particular individual, as long as you get enough people to do what you want them to. It other words, OK experiences (in fact, many OK experiences strung together) are acceptable as long as you reach your goal.
Ownership of your Truths
They’re yours and as such the employee has no-where to hide away if we wanted to push ‘Being Accountable’ but as we have seen above the ‘Taking Ownership’ is the key. In this age of social media – dissatisfied customers can tell 5,000 “close friends” about their experience with you, allowing everyone who reads it to draw the wrong conclusion based on one imperfect experience!
But if you pride yourself on the quality of your work, “Just OK” experiences are never acceptable, and you will work to make each one a WOW, regardless of the status of the goal. By taking ownership for creating a WOW experience for each person you serve, all 50 in our above example will be well served, causing you to nearly triple your goal and setting the groundwork for much higher success in the future!
In other words, success is not about the goal; it’s about how we treat people as we’re striving for the goal. If we treat people well, the goal will take care of itself.
Taking ownership for creating a WOW for 100% of my past, current and potential clients – no matter when they call or where I am with respect to my monthly accountability goal – means that no one’s phone calls get put off… even if it means that I call, text or e-mail them just to tell them I can’t speak with them at that moment but will call them soon, so they know they haven’t been forgotten and aren’t being ignored.
Accountability is “forced” on us from external sources; taking ownership comes from within and requires our own initiative. This is actually a more powerful factor than it may appear on the surface. Because one is forced on us, it has a fairly negative connotation (even though it often does produce positive overall results). The other is based on internal drive and motivation and therefore has a more positive connotation. Whenever we draw upon people’s inner drive and motivation, they often hold themselves accountable – and external accountability becomes merely the final “formality” in the process of achieving our goals.
The upshot is that both accountability and taking ownership are a two-way street. Neither leaders nor team members can (or should) expect others to do their respective parts in the process if they themselves are not ready, willing and able to do their own.
Here’s the kicker: No one is immune from the process. Taking ownership and holding people accountable only work when both concepts apply all the way up and down the line, with leaders and team members alike being just as committed to taking ownership and being accountable as they expect the next person to be.
So, the next time we hold ourselves or anyone else accountable for a certain goal, let’s ensure that we also take ownership for the highest level of success of every element that comprises that goal, making the goal not only easier to achieve, but highly likely to be exceeded.
2nd Law of Engagement
We’ve distilled all of our experience and insights into our 2nd Law of Engagement.
Why the Bother?
Helping Norma be PRODUCTIVE! Laura and Bill can TRANSLATE their Challenges and OPPORTUNITIES into measured and lasting business OUTCOMES for the business- which will be of interest to other key business leaders and stakeholders.
What We Can Help You With ..
Big Picture naturally increases Productivity based on consistent and sustainably high Engagement Coefficients as you provide your People with the best possible environment where your people feel safe to invest their time completing on agreed actions to translate into measurable business OUTCOMEs. With light-touch Delivery it means you can involve a large group sizes, upto 20, with no drop off in engagement levels. This results in the highest increases in Productivity we have ever seen for People and Business Development.
If You Like This You Might Also Like ..
The stuff WE care about is described in our FIVE Big Picture Frames on our YouTube channel @YourBigPic. You can have a go yourself by printing and writing on the one-pager here for a business YOU care about. I would love to take you through a taster of Big Picture in a Discovery Webinar you can sign-up for here.
And thanks for reading!