Well, to increase productivity there are so many strategies, but the fundamental issue that's in everyone's way is that people think that there's a correlation between time and productivity. On some occasions it will be, but I would say 75% of the time, if not more, there is no correlation, except we have it in our culture that allocation of time will give you a certain outcome.
We start in school. We say to kids, "You need to be studying at least four hours homework a night," or, "You need to put in at least 10 hours in preparation for this exam." Then we get kids at school sitting down at their desks with a goal to study for two hours. I always say to the kids, "Do you think the first question on the exam is going to be how long did you study for? It's not. It's going to be, do you know the answer to this question, and nobody cares how long it took you to learn that answer."
But then we go to the workforce, and we pay people for the time they allocate, not necessarily their productivity. So we then get obsessed about how much time people are putting in or are they working the full eight hours, and then we lose sight of the key indicators and the metrics relevant to productivity and the actions that get you there.
There are many companies where if you stay late that's expected and we value that, and you actually move up the hierarchy because you're a hard worker. I know companies where people leave their jacket on the back of the chair because that will indicate that they've worked late if somebody comes in early in the morning. It's madness because it's an artificial success. It's a perceived success when really what you want to do is hold your people accountable to key metrics that directly correlate to whatever it is they're trying to achieve.
Whether it be in accounting or sales or in quality control, customer service, there are key metrics that need to be introduced. Then also we need to let go of holding people accountable for time and just go, "You know what? We're going to pay you for eight hours, and if you hit these targets, that's what's expected. You've got eight hours to do it in, but you just have to hit these. So if you have to work late, that's great. If you can work less than eight hours, we're still going to let you go. It's these metrics that are important."
That is what we're really looking to do to get a company flying is to make sure that where we manage and lead the pressure onto the staff or the accountability onto the staff is not relevant to time. It's relevant to productivity and the metrics around that productivity. That's what we've got to deal with and then all the strategies about how to do that, so it comes second.