8 May 2019

Lawrence Jones MBE in the workplaceWe’ve all heard that you can’t manage what you don’t measure, but are you managing what you do measure?

There is a very fine line between managing productivity and becoming a ‘Big Brother business’.

You have to remember to ask, are you measuring too much?

We have huge amounts of technology to hand, enabling us to track every minute detail of our lives, but should we be tracking every move in the workplace? I’ve recently read that some of the biggest brands in the world have crossed that line, and are taking measurement and tracking too far.

One such example is a company who has created ID badges with microphones embedded into them, tracking every single conversation in the workplace. Every single conversation!

There are also companies where teammates volunteer to have chips embedded underneath their skin to track things like heartrate and typing speed! For me that’s intrusive, it’s not healthy.

There are far better ways to measure productivity and encourage people to do more with their time. The single greatest way to do that is by empowering your team. You have to empower people to manage their time and productivity without micromanaging them.

People naturally have peaks and troughs in their energy. I am sure you will know yourself, some days you smash through your to-do list and achieve far more than you set out to. Other days, you only manage to tick off one or two things. It’s completely natural. Even with the best will in the world it is impossible to maintain a constant energy level. So when you’re tracking people by high targets and piling on the pressure, you’re only going to exacerbate the lows by increasing people’s stress levels.

A switch in focus

In each of my businesses, I have stats to tell me the leads coming in, the revenue etc, but I don’t micromanage the teams who are getting these results. The team know that their job is not on the line because they’ve not done X amount of hours on the telephone. If they need to go to the gym to burn off some extra energy after a stressful morning, or need to take a few minutes to switch off, they do that. There’s none of this having to raise your hand to go to the bathroom, which I’ve heard happens in some of the big call centres.

I’ve looked after the team like this for many years but it wasn’t always that way. I learned the hard way that micromanagement is a nightmare for both you and your team. It just doesn’t work.

In this week’s podcast, I talk about the difference between penalising people for not meeting an output target, versus rewarding people for exceeding their output target. It is disproportionate the amount of growth that you get from switching your focus in this way.

Listen in and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Click here to subscribe on iTunes. For Android users, Mind Your Own Business is currently on Stitcher and Soundcloud too.

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