Solving the ‘productivity puzzle’ is one of the toughest challenges facing British businesses today. However, while many businesses have budgets for management training, more often than not the training selected doesn’t focus on the aspects of leadership that can have the greatest impact on productivity.
This is the verdict of executive coach, Lynn Scott who has worked with business leaders across the manufacturing, retail, energy and education sectors, as well as the NHS and local government.
Lynn believes that it’s important that companies recognise where their leadership focus needs to be. Many businesses invest a lot of money in training but if they are budgeting for time management courses on repeat when they may have more pressing leadership development areas, they won’t feel the benefit.
She says, “Working with a business coach, rather than a pure trainer, will enable companies to look beyond standard training and to understand specific areas that they need to address to enhance their performance. A coach will get below the surface of the business and help to identify key leadership issues. They will then be able to work with the business to address these, and in doing so will optimise areas such as staff productivity.”
Lynn has highlighted three training tips to boost staff productivity that companies can adopt:
Do something about your ‘energy vampires’ – unfinished business or conflict with a colleague makes both of you less productive, as well as those around you too. Find a way to have ‘that conversation’ and move on.
Make your meetings more productive – if you’re not contributing or gaining anything of value – find a way to do both. Or stop going.
Stop multi-tasking. Research shows it lowers your IQ and makes you ineffective.
One company that has benefited from taking Lynn’s approach is brand marketing agency Cherry London.
Tamara Gillan, CEO at Cherry London agrees, “We’re a fast-growing entrepreneurial business and productivity is key to our success. It’s too easy to just keep being busy. What keeps us productive is taking time out of the business regularly to reflect on what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and sometimes to deal with some uncomfortable truths.
“Having an effective programme and working with Lynn in real time has enabled us to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done. She has helped us to implement breakthrough conversations, which has created a positive environment for sharing, understanding and conquering. It’s had a significant impact on the way we work and our effectiveness as a company.”
Lynn concludes, “Those companies that embrace the role played by relevant leadership skills training will be the front runners in making the productivity gains that provide the competitive advantage to move their business to the next level, whether in the domestic market or broader global stage.”