Team Diversity and Your Competitive Edge

It takes a lot to be a competitive company within the global marketplace. From focusing on customer values, to being innovative with new processes, services and products. It is hard work maintaining a competitive edge! To remain ahead of the competition, supervisors must be attentive to all aspects involved in making the company a success; continuously assessing how each facet functions. 

An element that continuously needs to be assessed is that of the company’s staff. The presence of a variable, competent and capable staff can at times make or break an institution.  Many a time, it is the way in which staff carry out their day to day tasks and implement innovative ideas that guarantees success. However, not all staff members are the same. Individuals often have their own work style and it is an amicable mix of these work styles that often gives a business its distinct competitive edge.

Within her article ‘Your Team May Have Too Many Prioritizers and Planners’ in the Harvard Business Review, author Carson Tate lists the four types of workers needed in a successful company. They are planners, prioritizers, arrangers and visualizers.  Planners and prioritizers can be described as individuals who are analytical, linear and data and detail orientated. They pride themselves on their ability to be undoubtedly organized, precise and committed to honouring deadlines. Whilst arrangers and visualizers are supportive, expressive, and emotionally intelligent big-picture thinkers. They generate ideas and take risks.

In a recent assessment conducted by the Harvard Business Review over 46,000 people were evaluated to identify their personal productivity style. Specific questions were asked to help people to self-analyse and recognise how they think, learn and communicate best. On evaluating the results certain trends were found. Forty-seven percent (47%) of participants were recognised as Prioritizers, whilst thirty-seven percent (37%) illustrated the traits of Planners. These work styles align with the expectations and key drivers of performance in many of today’s leaner, more streamlined organisations, therefore they are a necessity. Easily recognisable for their abilities, prioritizers and planners are usually the most likely to get promoted.

Only 19% of those assessed turned out to be Arrangers, whilst 18% demonstrated Visualizer tendencies. However, companies need people of all types. Due to this Arrangers and Visualizers also have their importance. Think about it, if companies are unable to connect with their customers offering break through products and services, no amount of prioritizing and planning will ensure the long term viability of the company.

Managers and supervisors as leaders need to know and understand their own work style and those of their employees ensuring a balance of thinking and approaches. Realistically, most organisations probably won’t have a team in which Prioritizers, Planners, Arrangers, and Visualizers are all equally represented. However, new people or outside experts can be brought in to bridge the gaps. In preparation for this it is important to find out what work styles the workers in the workplace presently exhibit. By giving each person a new project to work on, their work style can be determined. On receiving information about the new task each staff member will have questions of their own pertaining to it. The questions asked will give some indication as to what category they fall under.

Faced with a new project, for example, Prioritizers would ask:

  • What is the goal?
  • What is the deadline?
  • What data or facts are necessary?
  • What metrics will be used to evaluate success?

Planners would ask:

  • How will the project be delivered?
  • How will the project be completed? Is a project plan necessary?
  • How will information about the project be communicated?

Arrangers would ask:

  • Who are the project stakeholders?
  • Who else needs to be involved?
  • Who can support you in achieving the goals of the project?

Visualizers would ask:

  • What are the gaps between where you are today and where you want to be at the end of the project?
  • Why does this project matter to the team and the organization?
  • What barriers can you foresee that will need to be addressed as you implement this project?

If you’re leading a team that is heavily weighted toward one or two work styles, recognize the value in rebalancing it. Work style diversity is the making of a productive team that will focus on all aspects – the big picture and the details, ideas and execution and purpose and profits.

About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit www.stluciancpc.org; www.facebook.com/stluciancpc, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to stluciancpc@gmail.com

 

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Regular Exercise and Your Productive Output

It is a known fact that regular exercise can improve your health. It is key to managing your weight and maintaining healthy organs. But did you know that exercise can make you more productive? How is this possible? Well, the latest research shows that regular exercise can make you happier, smarter, and more energetic.

In his article ‘Exercise Increases Productivity’ within The Huffington Post, Robert Pozen states,

‘A habit of regular exercise will help keep you mentally sharper throughout your entire life. As you age, your body generates fewer and fewer brain cells (a process called neurogenesis). However, early research in mice suggests that exercise can help prevent this slowdown. In other words, by the time they reach their 50s, 60s, and 70s, people who exercise might have more brain cells than their more sedentary peers — giving them a major advantage in the workplace.’

Over a shorter time-frame, regular exercise has been proven to provide energy to the body throughout the day. Our cells contain components called mitochondria, often referred to as the cell’s “power plant.” Mitochondria in turn produces the chemical that our bodies use as energy, known as ATP. Physical exercise stimulates the development of new mitochondria within our cells, so that our bodies produce more ATP over time. This gives us more energy to exert ourselves physically, but it also means more energy for the brain, boosting mental output.

If you do not regularly exercise don’t panic however as it is not necessary to sweat up a storm to achieve these benefits. In a randomized controlled trial, researchers from the University of Georgia split people into three groups: low-intensity exercise, moderate-intensity exercise, and a control group who did not exercise at all.  During the six-week experiment, both “exercise” groups reported growing levels of energy (compared to the control group). Notably, there was no substantial difference in results between the moderate- and low-intensity exercise groups.

This experiment suggests that exercise can make you feel more energized within a few weeks. By contrast, the effect of exercise on your mood is immediate. When we exercise, our body releases several different chemicals within our brain. Collectively these are known as neurotransmitters. Although the mechanisms aren’t fully understood, these neurotransmitters seem to reduce the discomfort of exercise and create the sensation often referred to as “runner’s high.” Yet, despite all of this many people still find it hard to exercise regularly. When this is the case it is often suggested that individuals should organize a group of friends or family members to work out with.

Pozen continues,

‘Fortunately, working out with others is also more fun, as researchers found by studying elite male rowers at Oxford University. The rowers first exercised on a rowing machine in the company of their teammates; the next day, they performed the same workout at the same intensity, but by themselves. After each session, researchers tested the pain tolerance of each of the athletes, finding a higher pain tolerance when the rowers worked out together. The researchers concluded that exercising with others enhances the release of the pain-suppressing (and happiness-inducing) chemicals in your brain.’

Therefore, the evidence is compelling. A modest exercise habit can help keep you sharper into old age, give you more energy to take on the day, and improve your mood, all in all helping to improve your productivity. So stop making excuses, find a group of like-minded peers, and start exercising today!

About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit www.stluciancpc.org; www.facebook.com/stluciancpc, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to stluciancpc@gmail.com

 

Be A Productive Leader

productive-leadership-style

Competition in business is ever increasing and with it comes a high level of expectancy levied at top level officials to break boundaries in innovations and increase business successes. In trying to achieve these successes, many supervisors and managers crack under daily work-related pressures. Although fully aware of their stressful situations, most in an effort to remain committed to fulfilling their mandates, refrain from implementing measures that could alleviate the strain; instead they concede to the notion that certain pressures should be expected when in managerial or supervisory positions.  Reports state that this is the wrong approach! Instead, supervisors should turn to positively charged solutions like implementing ‘The Six D’s’.

 ‘The Six D’s’ is an approach that focuses directly on the everyday actions of the company’s, supervisor. Each ‘D’ is a call to action aimed at reducing the workload of the person in charge whilst increasing the productivity levels of the unit.

  1. The first D in ‘The Six D’s’ is for Delete. Non-relevant company orientated tasks usually carried out by the supervisor should be deleted from their to-do lists. Many continue to carry out these tasks due to force of habit however their time could be better utilised elsewhere.
  2. The following D is for Decline. Most leaders find it hard to decline invitations to meetings. The problem with this being that meetings have a tendency of taking up valuable amounts of time. If a pending meeting does not seem currently relevant or if the invitation received makes it unclear as to what the meeting might be about, it may be better to politely say ‘No’.
  3. The third D is for Delegate. When the options of deleting and declining are not made available it is time to delegate. A successful leader cannot do everything. There are times when a task must be handed over to other staff members.
  4. D is also for Decide. It is said that a good leader is a good decision maker. Such supervisors do not procrastinate or over analyse. Instead, they simply make sure that all high priority goals are identified and allotted the necessary time needed for their completion.
  5. The fifth D is for Design. The redesigning of a process can also aid in greater productivity. A set way of doing something does not always make for a good outcome. If this is the case, it may be time to redesign the process thus resulting in a quality end product.
  6. The final D is for Destroy. It might sound drastic with regards to productivity it is sometimes a necessity. Committing to a plan of action that repeatedly brings about a negative result is pointless. A more productive approach would be to destroy the failing plan and start afresh on a clean slate.

Improving the productivity levels of an organisation is one of the most stressful yet significant challenges that leaders face today.  However, it should be recognised by supervisors that after improving on their own productivity levels they are able to lead by example. The end result being the creation of a highly productive team.  The Six D’s framework is one that can aid in bringing about higher levels of productivity to any organisation. Ultimately this can also bring about a less stressed, more engaged and energised leader.

About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit www.stluciancpc.org; www.facebook.com/stluciancpc, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to stluciancpc@gmail.com