Solve the productivity paradox in your team with one simple shift

Posted: 26th April 2024

Source: (18) Solve the productivity paradox in your team with one simple shift | LinkedIn

Despite pouring billions into productivity-enhancing tools and techniques, organisations continue seeing flat (or declining) gains. This has become known as the productivity paradox.

Does this sound familiar? If your team has experienced their own productivity paradox, here’s a simple way to reframe and resolve.

Too often, workplace initiatives optimise for the individual – personal productivity hacks, goal-setting frameworks, task management tools, etc. But humans don’t operate in a vacuum. We’re fundamentally social creatures whose performance is shaped by the group dynamics we experience daily.

That’s why world-class leaders are turning their attention to team climate – the shared psychological environment that governs how a team operates. Research shows team climate accounts for up to 30% of team performance.

Does your team climate inspire people to take risks and voice dissenting views? Teams with high psychological safety are more likely to admit mistakes, work collaboratively, and take on new challenges. Or does it promote self-censorship and ‘going along to get along’? Does it fuel intrinsic motivation and engagement? Employees who derive higher meaning from their work feel more engaged and report higher satisfaction, commitment and perceived organisational performance. Or does it breed cynicism and ‘going through the motions’?

The climate you create as a leader is the umbrella under which all strategies, processes and technologies either thrive or wither. In his book ‘The Speed of Trust’ Stephen Covey demonstrates that companies with high trust levels outperform those with low trust by 286% in total shareholder returns.

Improving team climate starts with understanding its core components:

  1. Building transactional performance- does everyone understand the goals, roles and processes that enable their work?
  2. Enabling transformational performance – developing behaviours that allow for adaptability, connection and resilience.

Once you articulate the ideal climate, the real work begins – embedding it through your own modelling, messaging, decision-making and prioritisation. It requires relentless discipline to create an environment of candour, commitment and care.

But the ROI is unmatched. Teams in service of a vibrant, positive climate unlock reservoirs of discretionary effort. They collaborate more effectively, adapt to change faster, and persist through difficulties.

In today’s world of unrelenting disruption, technical mastery alone is table stakes. Sustainable productivity gains accrue to those leaders capable of fostering climates that bring out the full depth and dimension of their teams’ talent and potential.

If you’re stuck in the productivity paradox, look under the bonnet at the human factors shaping performance. Create a thriving team climate. Then watch as productivity and business performance follow. It’s inevitable.

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