Three steps to productivity

Three steps to productivity

Simon Mcauliffe – Director

BBA Training – 20 years of Team Direction


Three steps to productivity

Ever feel like you are on the work roundabout of going nowhere fast?

It can be draining on teams and management when this stage occurs but don’t give up just yet.

Follow the 3 steps below, part of the work smarter- not harder strategy from BBA and you may just get to that exit of real productivity.



Step 1: Get real, decide and focus on the really important goals

“Simon, how do we get more done in less time? “

One of the questions I am asked by nearly every team I work with, regardless of location or size. I bet my life savings that every person reading this has at one point in their working life thought “If only I had more time!”

My response –  Stop thinking about time and start thinking about goals. Realistic goals.

The greatest leaders and achievers think this way.   To quote Steven Covey “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”.  

A good example for you here is world famous golfer, Rory McIlroy, who at the beginning of a year jots down what he wants to accomplish on the back of his boarding pass, memorizes the goals and keeps the boarding pass in his wallet for the entire year. At year’s end, he reviews his progress.

Think about it. How much can you really fit on the back of a boarding pass?

Rory demonstrates that by placing the focus on being great, his talent and a few goals, excellence is achieved.


Step 2. Delegate & Empower

For over 20 years, I have witnessed great leadership and downright awful. What made the difference? Delegation.

Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

And that’s how it’s done, folks!

To get to a stage that feels like a well-oiled machine, management and leaders need to learn the art of effective delegation.

Logistics are key and you need to look at the beginning, middle and end, decide who you need to get there, how you are going to get there and delegate in a manner that makes the person want to do it and not feel they are being forced to.

This is tricky but achievable.

One of the best methods to get here comfortably is by understanding every member of the team’s unique style of communication.

A tool that we have used for decades with teams is the Forté Communication Suite.

A quantitative scientific measurement that allows a team leads and their team members to understand each other’s unique style of communication as well as their individual motivators.  

I have seen teams move from what seemed to be a never-ending Storming stage to the Performing stage very quickly when applied.


Step 3. Celebrate every milestone

For this, I want to give you a real-life example that occurred with a large project management team, whom I had been brought in to help.  a new leader had just been appointed.

A team of 10 were working on delivering a project worth many millions.  All on good salaries and decent perks. Their working hours were good and on paper, it seemed like a dream team, a dream project. Were they productive?

If productivity on a compass is North then this team were firmly stuck at South.

I wondered why? Day one within 5 minutes I got the answer.

There was a strong siloed culture with poor communication.  this was to a certain extent due to the nature of the matrixed structure of the team.  A draining, heavy atmosphere was very apparent and it was obvious to see that everybody was extremely frustrated and in that dark hole of really not enjoying it.

The leader with some help from me derived a strategy to start digging our way out the hole.   

First, we reviewed the purpose and vision of the team, agreed on norms, roles and responsibilities.  To help on this journey we used the Forté Communication Suite as well as the Drexler/Sibbet teaming model to get this team understanding each other and the purpose of why they were all here.


Secondly, to add a bit of a challenge  I sourced a 100 Euro note.


Monday morning arrives and I’m in the boardroom in front of this team of 10. I hold up this gorgeous, crisp 100 Euro note, pick up a pair of scissors and cut it into 10 even pieces.


After puzzled looks and a few gasps, I explained;

“Each piece is a goal and over the next 10 weeks, they have to be met. This can only be achieved by you, this team, a collective of great individuals who are here because you have the skills and knowledge to make these goals happen. And when each of these happens, which I know they will, we stick one piece to the next and after 10 weeks, we celebrate by donating to an agreed charity of choice!

Low and behold after 10 weeks we contributed and celebrated with that fully intact solid 100 euro note but do you know what was worth that amount 1000 times over? The sense of accomplishment that was now between the team.

They had become a real team, a unit, a collective and productive.


So my advice for next week in your office – Implement the 3 key rule, delegate smart and celebrate every milestone.

“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs


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