Productive (adjective) – producing, or being able to produce, large amounts of outputs.
In today’s business world, being productive has become a necessity for every employee, and every team out there.
In fact, the word “productivity” is used to such an extent, that most people can’t tell the difference between productivity and effectiveness anymore.
Being more productive, doesn’t always mean you will be more effective. That is to say, if you complete five more tasks tomorrow than you did today, just for the sake of labeling them completed, it doesn’t mean you created more value for your team or your company.
But, how do you really become more productive, while staying effective? Or in other words, how do you produce more outputs than you are doing today, and making a real difference in the end? Let’s work that formula out.
Eliminate non-productive activities a marketing team is engaged in
Finding and eliminating non-productive activities can be a great deal for marketing teams, and should be performed by all means. How do you find those activities though?
As a fellow marketer, I know for a fact that whenever you read “non-productive” activity, you immediately think of meetings. However, it’s important to understand that each team is unique, so their productivity formula is unique as well. For all you know, meetings might be the most productive thing for your team. How do you know for sure?
There is a common method mathematicians use to check whether a statement is true or false, when it’s really hard to tell, and I believe it’s brilliant and should be assigned to all aspects of the business world, especially marketing.
What they do is assume the statement is true and go with it, test it out (using as many test types as needed to fully understand the process), and depending on the outcome, come up with a clear reasoning as to why something is true or not.
Let me give you a really simple example.
Suppose you have two numbers, X and Y (both of which are real, positive numbers), and the statement claims that X is always greater than Y. How do you prove the statement to be true or false?
The easiest way is to assume it’s true and simply assign different values to X and Y, and test. In the end, your result will be that X cannot always be greater than Y if they are both real, positive numbers, so the statement is false.
Now this example is very, very simple, but you get the idea. Whenever you are unsure whether something is working, assume it is and observe the results.
So, for every activity that you suspect of being non-productive, assume that it is, and see what you get based on examples. Eliminate all the other activities that don’t pass the test.
There is, however, a technology-based way to eliminate non-productive activities. Check out Easy Projects, a fresh approach to project management. With its advanced monitoring features, you can trace bottlenecks and underperforming activities almost as soon as they show themselves the slightest bit. To do so, the software uses time-tested criteria and algorithms for effectiveness and productivity.
Hold everyone accountable
Let’s jump from math to psychology for a bit.
Team members don’t really get scolded by upper management and C-suite when something goes wrong. You know who gets the whole blame? That’s right – the marketing manager.
To counter this, you need to hold each team member responsible for his own work and task deadlines. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that your marketing team members are slacking or missing deadlines on purpose – I am sure they are all hard-working and want to be helpful. The thing is, they simply don’t know that a few missed deadlines might make all the difference.
Establishing an accountability system helps set clear goals and roles for everyone on your team, make everything transparent, have a concrete workflow and overall, make work easier for everybody on the team.
There are many software products out there that help you do deadline and performance tracking. One is Easy Projects, a project management tool, with extensive team collaboration support. It gives all you need to set up an accountability system and an environment enabling everybody on a marketing team to offer top performance.
Make use of technology for the benefit of marketing teams
Much of the ability to produce more comes from having instant access to marketing files and making the most out of available time. This is where technology will be super helpful.
Technological advancements of the past decade are all aimed to help people get more done in less time, while making sure the quality doesn’t suffer. Plus, technology enables flexibility.
If your team members prefer to answer work related emails using their personal time, give them the ability to do so. This is especially helpful if you consider Millennials, who account for the majority of the workforce today, and their attitude towards work. They value their tech gadgets, freedom and the ability to work remotely, and if that’s going to help them be more productive, there is no reason you shouldn’t encourage that.
Project management built on software products, like Wrike, Easy Projects, and others, makes your company more attractive in the eyes of millenials who prefer to get help from their computers and gadgets in whatever they do and this is exactly what such products are designed to deliver. Many have gone as far as to offer mobile apps that transfer seamlessly the power of the main PM tool to mobile appliances, be it iOS or Android-based. The ROI of such products is usually unexpectedly high especially when used as SaaS (Software as a Service).
Encourage marketing teamwork
Remind your team that they are a part of something bigger and work towards accomplishing common goals. It’s important to give credit to individual skill (which will boost morale on a single employee level), but showing how your team’s combined effort leads to something great is essential.
People are social creatures and they get the surge to work harder when they feel as a part of something bigger. Our work depends on one another, so why not encourage effective teamwork, which will speed up the whole process and in the end, help teams produce more in the same time?
In our age of Facebook and Twitter, nothing does a better job at teambuilding than social networking. State-of-the-art project management software tools of today, including Easy Projects, can contribute significantly to turning your company into a social network of its own kind with its message boards and file sharing, automatic email notifications, task following and many other cool features.
Motivate and incentivize your marketing team
In an absolutely impossible case that none of the above mentioned tactics work for you, there is always the safest way to increase your team’s productivity – motivation and incentives.
For example, you could make a plan, which would help you afford to give a day-off to team members that are the most productive each week (with a maximum number of two possible winners), or you could hold productivity competitions and have prizes for the winners.
Team lunches and vacations (with expenses covered by the company) are good ideas to consider. Motivate your team members to produce more and recognize them for it, so they will feel some real gratitude and work even harder in the future.
Reaching the limit
Remember that each team is unique and requires an individual approach to everything internal, including productivity. There is no guarantee that your team will win the Nobel Prize in productivity, but using these five tactics efficiently will, without a doubt, make your team a bit more productive every day.
If you want even higher results, use these strategies as a base, and work towards crafting an awesome strategy that will fit your team best.