I was reading the book “The Leadership Challenge” and ran across a story about how to improve the productivity of your team that I wanted to share.The authors of the book ran a workshop to help people focus on continuous improvement. One of their suggestions was to have managers ask their team what they had done in the last seven days that would make them more productive in the next seven days. The idea was to keep people focused not just on being busy but on accomplishing more.
Here is a quote from the book:
About a month later, we heard from a participant in the workshop who had done what we recommended. He told us that the first time he asked the question, people looked at each other skeptically, apparently thinking, “Oh, this guy’s just been to a seminar.” The second time, some staff took him seriously and about 30% had a response. The third time, about 70% had something to report. And the fourth? Something very interesting happened: “They asked me what I had done in the last week to improve myself so I was better than I was last week.” Questions can indeed be very effective tools for change!
You can use this technique for yourself as well. Post questions that you want to ask yourself that will help you focus on what is important. Put them places where you are likely to see them. A post-it note on your monitor is a good start. You can also put them on your bathroom mirror, the dash of your car, the refrigerator, or anywhere else where you are likely to see it.Here are some ideas for questions you might want to ask yourself:
- Have you spent any time reading today?
- How much did you write this morning?
- How many sales calls did you make today?
- Are you operating at your peak performance?
- Have you called your mother this week?
Constantly asking yourself questions that will push you toward doing the things that are important in life is a good way to stay focused.