3 do’s & don’ts to increase your team’s productivity

How can your clients be inspired if your employees aren’t inspired?

This is the question, I have asked many teams. This has also been researched thoroughly. It can be concluded that the productivity and profit of teams can be increased by 50% if ‘the recognition brain rule’ has been applied.

What if your clients are not being treated like a king by your team-members?

What if your employees don’t love their company and their role?

What if your team is perceived differently than you aim for?

You are positioned as this service oriented, fast and kind company. However, if there is a complaint… your customer service employee does not listen and even becomes angry. Your business development manager makes promises he cannot make come true. And you are not able to deliver your products in time. This ruins the company!

You may know this story. I love it!

One day, Bob, the CEO of a hospital, was walking down the hallway. He came across a singing cleaning lady working. He stopped to talk with her for a few moments and eventually he asked the lady what she did. The cleaner stopped, turned to Bob with a completely serious look and replied, “I save lives”. Bob was taken aback. What was this lady talking about? She’s the cleaner, not a heart surgeon. She continued, “See, when I do my job well and clean the operating rooms and other work areas, the doctors have a sanitary, safe place to do their jobs. I clean things, yes, but in the bigger scheme of things, I’m helping to save lives”. Bob, the CEO instantly realized his own “small thinking” and saw that the cleaner had a view of the mission of the hospital from an entirely different, yet valuable, perspective.

This lady is fully committed to the higher goal of the hospital. Her self esteem is high, she feels valuable. This makes a big difference. Do you think this lady will clean the hospital better or somebody who feels de-motivated?

For the ones who like numbers, did you know that:

  • The productivity of teams increases with 50% if each team member fulfills the role they are good at. In a car factory, 2 teams were selected. Each team member listed their qualities. These were shared with everybody. Then, they got the tasks matching their qualities. 6 month later, the productivity of these 2 teams has improved by 50% versus the unchanged teams.
  • A study under 8000 business-units of 36 companies in US measured the inspiration versus the profit of the company. Both productivity (+80-120.000 dollar per month) and profit (+1-4%) were higher in the more inspired companies.

This brings me to one of the most important Brain Rules to engage your employees:

Recognize your employees

Even though you do not always realize, everybody needs attention, recognition and to be valued. Your reptilian brain, the part of the brain that takes your decisions, is very self-centered. It feels: I am the only important person on earth. It needs attention and acknowledgement.

Let’s take a look at what the 3 do’s and don’ts are to increase the productivity of your team by applying the recognition rule.

1. Listen openly to your team-members’ ideas

Don’t: Ask for their opinion and never get back to it, or tell them they are wrong. They will never open up to you again.

Do: Take their ideas seriously & see how they can complement your own ideas. Give them feedback.

Easy Win: Ask a few of your team-members what is the most important hurdle to get more clients. Listen to them and acknowledge them for being that honest. Adjust your strategies and messages accordingly. Otherwise, their brain will protest and they will sabotage your plans.

2. Make sure all team-members know and feel the added value of the team

Don’t: Think and show that your team is not important or not capable. It will be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Do: Keep the spirit high by sharing the importance of what you are doing. Everybody in your team should know what the company & clients miss if you wouldn’t be around.

Easy Win: Share in every assignment that you dedicate to your team (yes, also in your e-mails) why this is relevant to the company’s success.

3. Make sure that you recognize the added value of each team-member

Don’t: Chase your team-members on things they are not able to do. It will be both frustrating for you and them.

Do: Recognize the strength of each of the team members. Make sure everybody knows about it. Make use of the feeling of being a winner.

Easy Win: Let you team members list their qualities. Share them with the rest of the team. Then, give them tasks that match their qualities. If you need somebody to make a presentation, ask the one who is good at this. If you need a spreadsheet with numbers, ask the one who really likes this. You will be amazed what will happen!

If you implement the winners’ mentality in your team, productivity will quickly improve. Yes, I know, there are always other priorities: your daily activities, the report to the board, the launch of a new product. However, don’t forget: an inspired team can do 50% more. What is a better investment?

Any other inspirational tips for teams? Share them at the comments section.

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This article was written bij Karin van Zuilen, change management consultant and leadership trainer

Karin van Zuilen helps leaders and their teams to develop the strategy, mindset & behavior to optimize their performance. She inspired dozens of companies and teams to build their unique position in the market; in Europe, USA and Asia