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What is Productivity?

What is Productivity?

Productivity needs a definition to be useful.

When I coach with clients, productivity inevitably is in the top three issues to discuss. What my anecdotal research shows is that each person has a personal idea of what productivity is. They do not know how to measure it either.

So, step one is to define how they want it to manifest in their team members. Remember, metrics circle back to people even when machines may be involved with a process—a person is involved at some level.

Old models were called time and motion studies, and were at the forefront of industrial psychology. It was based on speed and output numbers.

Today, productivity has several components:
1. Recognize not all humans can run at an optimum speed, which may sacrifice accuracy. Where do we put the value then? You choose the result you want.

2. Outcomes must be clearly defined. The most effective reality test of an outcome is how it connects to the overall company strategic plan. Reverse engineer from that connecting point to your proposed result.

3. Define what we must measure. The definition will underscore what is important. It will assure we measure the important widgets to achieve our goals. Here a gap analysis is handy to mark progress.

4. Caution: Do not confuse activity with productivity! Lots of activity with no results is busy work.

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