Activity Isn’t Necessarily Productivity

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Activity is not the same as Productivity!  When a leader or salesperson gets more focused on “getting things done” than being productive, there is a real risk of losing focus on what’s important to their success in their current role…the organization needs PRODUCTIVE employees, not necessarily BUSY ones!

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I’ve been working from home, with no ability to go into the field with my sales reps to interact directly with customers and organizations for almost a full year!  Obviously, that’s due to COVID-19 (for those who will be reading this 2028)!!  During that time, I’ve taken deep dives into GTD (Getting Things Done) and Atomic Habits to help me be more efficient.  I’ve spent hours testing and re-testing whether I like my iPad and Apple Pencil as my note taking solution versus Paper and Pen.  I’ve taken LinkedIn courses on managing sales people, telling better stories as a sales person, how to sell with data, how to coach in challenging environments.  I’ve evolved from not wanting to “face time” with my sales team (phone is fine) to living on Zoom several hours a day!  Another way to say it, I’ve found ways to stay ACTIVE from home…the question I have to challenge myself with is has that time been PRODUCTIVE

I found out this week that we are moving to a position where I can be in the field on a limited basis!  It’s challenging me to determine whether or not what I’m currently focused on completing weekly is actually PRODUCTIVE, or am I just doing it to stay ACTIVE

Here are 3 questions I will run my current activities through to challenge their usefulness to my productivity: 

  • Is It Focused on the “Main Thing”?
    • One of my directors favorite sayings is “Let’s not let the Trivial Many get in the way of the Critical Few”
    • For me and my team, the “main thing” is generating sales that we are judged on at the end of each month…the Rank Report!  
    • There are many great things we could be focused on, but do these activities directly tie into our ability to put numbers on the board?
  • Am I the RIGHT person to be doing this activity?
    • This one get’s personal for me, because I have a way I like things done, and I fall into the trap many times that it’s just easier for me to do it myself than it is to delegate it to someone on my team or peer group
    • Delegation is key…identify strengths of you peers and direct reports, then determine who is best suited to help with specific activities if indeed they are focused on the “main thing”
  • Is there a BETTER way to do it?
    • It could be focused on the “main thing”, and there may be someone that it can be delegated to, but is there a better way to do it given our return to a more normal workplace.
    • One example of this is Team Calls…we typically have them once a week or bi-weekly.  I’ve recently discovered the “Voice Recorder” on my laptop, so instead of having a weekly or bi-weekly call, I combine several topics into an e-mail with a “voice recording” attached of my walking through the items in the e-mail that actually do help us focus on important topics from week to week.  These recordings are less than 5 minutes, and the team can listen and respond at a time that works for them.  This has been received very positively by the team, and now we have monthly team calls instead of 2-4 times per month!

I hope you find these tips helpful…if you don’t, no worries, they were offered free to you! I know for myself, there is a true balance between being “BUSY” and being “PRODUCTIVE”!  I’m determined to be PRODUCTIVE in 2021!!

 

Remember your three to do’s today (and everyday):  

  1. Learn something you didn’t already know
  2. Make someone smile you come into contact with
  3. Be Productive!!

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