Prosper your Company!

To change ones life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly.
- William James

Once you are hired, you can park your Degree aside, because it is now all about performance on the job, not how many Distinctions you have.

Regardless of your job title, you are hired to help organisations make profits (or surpluses for non-profits). To do so, you either reduce cost or increase revenue. Usually you have to do both.

One of the best ways to reduce cost is through productivity, which essentially is to "do more with less". However, it is one of those buzzwords that everyone uses but few understand.

The following is an online forum post by a disgruntled engineer:

"Low productivity is an outcome of our own social behaviour" and "productivity is very much embedded in the way Singaporean workers work, the way Singaporean managers manage and the way Singaporean customers consume." On a micro level, Employee Empowerment – on all levels – can help in productivity.

From my own experience working in a MNC – we engineers update our manager so that he can update his manager. We had to do all this in a meeting where each one gives an update in turn. After that, when the big boss had questions, we spent more time explaining things to our manager (who didn't really get it) so that he can answer his boss.

We could have saved so much time if engineers gave the update to the big boss directly – and field his queries immediately. And instead of everyone sitting in a meeting, he comes to our desks to poll each of us for updates (especially useful when we're "firefighting").

But of course, doing this will make my manager look ineffective. And he didn't want the big boss hearing "unfiltered" bad news. He, of course, didn't dare tell his boss to walk about and look for us. Some engineers were scared of speaking to the big boss (I don't know why as he doesn't even do our performance reviews) and they also didn't dare tell our manager his meetings were a waste of time. I did – and I saved myself many hours.

It was a like a microcosm of a political environment…

The bottomline? Productivity is more about people than methods and techniques.

The best techniques would only get average results if the mindset and attitude of the employees is not up to par. To improve productivity, appeal more to the self interest of the employees than what benefits the company. What gets rewarded gets done. Perhaps this explains why productivity here has not improved much all these years, despite several national initiatives on training and upgrading.

"Productivity is the result of the education of our people and their culture…. Growth in capital investments alone cannot achieve the full potential without improved work attitudes, teamwork, company loyalty and industrial relations. It is the man behind the machine that will make for unending productivity increases."
- Lee Kuan Yew, Productivity Month, 1 Nov 1988

Unfortunately, where there are people, there is office politics. The only way to rise above office politics is to do two things:

  1. Be outstanding in your work
  2. Be outstanding in your relationships with everyone at work, including your colleagues, vendors and customers

To be outstanding at work is to over deliver, consistently. Pareto's 80/20 principle can help you get there. The principle was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The assumption is that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes.

The 80/20 principle states that

  • 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers
  • 80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers
  • 80% of your sales come from 20% of your products

Therefore, as a smart employee, you should identify your own 80/20 areas for improvement. Then do all you can to achieve the 80% results. Once you have tasted success, help your organization identify these 80/20 trigger points and maximize improvement by focusing on initiatives to eliminate, automate, delegate or simply retrain. Step by step, you will become the most productive employee in the organization, and probably most rewarded too.

Applying 80/20 to the disgruntled engineer scenario above, the engineers' briefing to the manager is obviously not the 20% that create 80% of the results. Therefore, it is a ripe target for elimination. However, this could work only with the manager's blessings. So work with the manager and create a communication system where both your needs are met, and turn it into a 20% advantage.

Your job is to help the organisation make more profits. 80/20 gets you there faster. When you can do that, you are no longer just an employee. You have graduated to become a Profit Partner! Congratulations!

Contact us today to increase your productivity and your profits!

Personal Mastery Academy

A Division of Personal Mastery Resources

218 Orchard Road Level 6
Orchard Gateway@Emerald
Singapore 238851

Telephone: +65 6809 7666
Email: Info@personalmaster.com

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