Mind the Gap – The best productivity gains are found under foot

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Companies will forever continue to look for ways to make productivity gains. Consultants are brought in, new bosses plant their flags with their Mind the gap Eurostar, The Myndset digital marketing & brand strategynew big ideas, HR is called in to reduce headcount.  Sound familiar?  Yet, one of the biggest opportunities for productivity improvements, I believe, comes from closing the proverbial gap between what is said and what is done or expected. {Click to Tweet}

Minding the gap

When what people are saying isn’t aligned with what is being done, the gap is destructive.  It indicates a lack of accountability.  People need to be held accountable for what is being said.  If someone says something that obviously won’t get done, are they being challenged?   Here are some telltale situations or phrases that illustrate a culture of non-accountability:

  • “we should have lunch some time…”
  • “let’s drop in another promotion” without saying where the funds will come from
  • a meeting without an agenda
  • no recap and action plan (with dates) at the conclusion of a meeting
  • people biting their lips and not speaking up in meetings
  • a high volume of BCC emails

In these scenarios, enterprise is creating a disconnect, causing entropy and employee disengagement.  {Click to Tweet}

Making people accountable

What needs to happen in order to make a company culture more accountable?  This is a case where top-down is the only way forward.  The senior executives must model the behavior.  Secondly, the language must be precise and understandable.  Thirdly, people must feel empowered to challenge something said that doesn’t jive.  It’s the Board of Governors’ approach to running meetings.  Everyone has a voice.  If a person doesn’t feel right about challenging the speaker openly in a meeting, that’s a bad sign.  But, pragmatically speaking, that is bound to happen.  So, I like to recommend that the issue must be addressed within 24 hours.  If the issue isn’t raised within 24 hours, then it should be considered adopted.  Moreover, firing off an email should not be considered the first port of call.  An IRL conversation is most likely the method to address the case.

Productivity gains via proper communication

Whether it’s a meeting, an email or a person-to-person discussion, we are systematically talking about communication.  Communication is the lifeblood of a company.  The leader and his/her team unite to take a decision.  Then, when an order is given, it must be communicated down the chain.  Communication is the glue that holds the business together.  But, when there is a gap between what is said and what is done or is expected, this is where CYA politics and rolling of the eyes settle in to drain energies and throttle productivity.  In marketing speak, we might talk about deceptive advertising.  In Politics, we might say it’s business as usual.  But, in business, it’s a killer.

Productivity gains don’t necessarily need to involve massive shifts in budget.  Sometimes, a revisiting on the power of the spoken word is enough!

Your reactions are welcome!

  • yendi

    Too many diverging voices, many contradiction in the message, power struggles, loud, or silent, some marketing messages preach what they do not practice. Without a clear vision, it is difficult to avoid discrepancies between the message and the actions.

    • http://themyndset.com Minter Dial

      So true. Keeping that laser focus allows us to cut through the crowds and the clouded path! If you know where you're going, it's easier to have a consistent discourse — where you say no and/or yes with greater precision, for example.