0 Comments | Apr 08, 2010

Productivity – It Ain’t a Numbers Game

  • Share

Too many of us in the executive suite have bought into the notion that better processes, smoother systems, and smarter number crunching can propel business growth. They usually can’t. Chasing efficiency is usually the hallmark of a shortsighted executive, swiping at the low-hanging fruit of business growth and employee productivity.

Don’t get me wrong – technological and process-enhancing tools are certainly indispensable for rectifying inefficiencies and identifying misaligned efforts, which are necessary preconditions for profit in any economic environment.

But your leadership efforts can’t stop there. Long-term growth, profit, and productivity ultimately hinge on messy, organic, seemingly random, human activities. People innovate, produce, inspire, grow, win market share, and add value to the marketplace. Your business’ degree of employee productivity, engagement, pride, and motivation will determine your profits down the stretch.

Customers take process efficiency, data fidelity, responsiveness, and service for granted – you must do those things right, or you don’t stand a chance. But thriving in business takes inspiration, which is a uniquely human and decidedly non-institutional attribute.

Compare Dell to Apple. While both are obviously successful technology companies, Apple’s level of continuous, market-defining inspiration sets them an order of magnitude apart. The rest of the computer, music, and telecommunications worlds spend years catching up to Apple’s endless stream of innovations.

It’s not an accident. Apple’s employment policies, compensation, employee benefits, workplace norms, and company culture are all carefully crafted to support a strategic investment in their most critical business asset: the emotional, unpredictable, variable, perfectly non-systemic humans that power their world domination.

Are yours?