3 Sweet Tips to Boost Team Productivity

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Peep this: Forget everything you know about team management. Forget the books, the articles, the sweet-talking business authors who talk a good game -- but never managed a day in their lives.

The Myths Debunked

Myth: "Managers must find ways to motivate people."

Nope. People are self-motivated. You can guide them, yes; but, it's fruitless to make decisions for them.

Myth: "The most productive teams need planning stages."

That kills time to execute. A kick-ass productive team doesn't worry about planning; instead, it chooses a tremendous goal, then chases it down and beats it into submission. Execution rocks.

Myth: "You need to buy our 'bestselling-attention- whoring-top-10' motivational ebooks!"

Crap. Most authors base their books on theory, and on what "sounds good." Your team would laugh. It just doesn't end there, folks. If there's one thing we can teach you, it's this: before you accept anything as fact, make sure they can prove their assertions to you. (Most likely -- and sadly, they can't.)

So how do you really boost team productivity?

Simple: Get the right people. Then, don't manage them. Instead, start managing your business processes. What are we talking about? Here are three sweet tips:
  1. Set astronomical expectations.

    Expect your kid to be Michael Jordan, and he'll strive to be like Jordan. Expect him to be like Zidane (head-butting aside), and he'll strive to be "the Scientist." He probably won't play anything like Jordan or Zidane, but we could promise you he'll work his butt off to be like them. When you set high expectations for your team, and the individuals within the team, a weird thing happens: they start believing in themselves to reach world-class expectations. The key, then, is to steer them where they can achieve world-class results.
  2. Set short deadlines.

    Have you ever procrastinated on a term paper in school? (We're talking the night before it's due.) What happened? If you're like most of us who procrastinated, you worked your butt off. You had 12 hours to turn in a 10-page paper. Did you watch TV? Did you lounge around planning? Probably not. You were hyper-focused on completing your mission. Those last 12 hours were more productive than the first 1000 hours since your teacher assigned your paper. When you set short deadlines for your team, you drive them to kick ass.
  3. Exploit individual strengths.

    Dwayne Wade shouldn't coach. Shaq shouldn't play point guard. Pat Riley shouldn't play center. Instead, the Miami Heat maximized the strengths of each player toward winning the NBA Finals. The best teams have the best people in positions where they excel -- where they're better than anybody else on the team. Know the individual strengths of each player on your team. Then, tap it.
Word, y'all.

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Posted on July 11

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