7 tips to be highly productive

four people holding smartphones and tablet
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

1. Have clear and Stretch goals
Highly productive people have clear goals. They place a clear beacon on where they want to be. We are talking about goals that are slightly beyond their reach. They place stretch goals to stretch their capabilities.

2. Knows when to say ‘no’
Highly productive people know that there is a finite number of hours a day, a finite number of days in a week, a finite number of weeks in a month. They understand that their time is precious and is best spent on meaningful work. Work that adds value to their company, customers, employees, their department or other departments.

3. Consistently delivers on their commitment
One very clear differentiator between highly productive people and the rest is their drive to deliver on their promise. It’s sadly commonplace today to see people that do not deliver on their commitment. Commitments are taken lightly by most people. These people are usually the ones that are stuck in their careers. After all, who would want to promote someone who cannot deliver on commitment?

4. Results-driven
Highly productive people focus on results and do not use effort as an excuse. They do not hide behind their ‘seemingly’ massive efforts to deliver. At the end of the day, highly productive people understand that it’s results that matter more.

5. Holds oneself accountable
Highly productive people do not point fingers to anyone when things fall apart. They are the first to hold themselves accountable for their performance and the performance of the people that report to them.

6. Manages risks
Highly productive people regularly think about what can go wrong and put preventive measures in place. They are not negative people who simply give up because of what may go wrong. They understand that risks usually causes delays in plans. Highly productive people plan ahead and figure out what to do with the roadblocks and speed bumps they will be encountering.

7. Collaborates well with others
Highly productive people appreciate the fact that you cannot succeed on your own. You need to work closely with colleagues. Productivity is raised through collaboration with others. Success is delivered through a team effort.


Putting People at the Center of Creativity


Coming up with creative solutions, new products and services are often done in haste.
However, Design Thinking designers approach users with the goal of understanding their wants and needs, which might make their life easier and more enjoyable and how technology can be useful for them. Empathic design transcends physical ergonomics to include understanding the psychological and emotional needs of people—the way they do things, why and how they think and feel about the world, and what is meaningful to them. Design thinking does not need to be complicated.
It can be easily applied to work. We simplified the approach to design thinking and called it “creativity@work.ph” or Creativity at Work in the Philippines.
The approach can be applied to an important new service of product development. It can also be applied to simple things like turning six recruitment processes into a one page easy to understand process. It’s so easy to understand that our new recruitment officers are able to do their talent acquisition job very well from day 1.
However; designing and piloting a new product, service or solution is only half the battle. The other half is having a simple process for rolling out the idea. Your innovation is good only on paper unless properly executed.
We connected our effective execution (template-driven) approach to design thinking. Design thinking and effective execution complement each other. Hundreds of employees from dozens of companies are already using our template driven project management made simple tools.
Do you want to know more? We want to hear from you. We want to understand your goals for putting more creativity at work. We want to add value to you and your company.
Reach out and we are more than happy to talk.

Paying attention – the starting point of design thinking

Design Thinking

Great innovation does not come from focus groups. It does not come from surveys. It does not come from interviews. It does not come from looking at months and years of statistical data. It does not come from guesstimates. It does not come from past successes.
Great innovation comes from paying attention to people. Yes, you read it correctly. Great ideas and innovation come from paying attention to people and empathizing with them.
In Design Thinking, empathy is, as explained in IDEO’s Human-Centred Design Toolkit, a “deep understanding of the problems and realities of the people you are designing for”.
Great ideas come about when you gain a deep understanding of people’s emotional and physical needs.
The power of simply using ‘numbers’ has caused about 17 plane crashes a day in the 1940’s. The leadership of the US Air Force attributed these to the ‘fact’ that planes were getting faster and more sophisticated. The Air Force leadership were baffled by the real reason for the crashes until one day the real reason was observed. The cause of the crashes was the cockpit equipment dimension. The cockpits were supposed to have been designed for the ‘average’ sized pilots. It was then observed that none of the 4,000 Air Force pilots fit the bill of the ‘average’ size pilot.
It became clear that the discomfort had been causing all the crashes. The problem was resolved when the Air Force designed adjustable equipment to fit the pilot’s body.
Just recently, I had been observing our HR recruitment people. They were clearly at a loss and inconsistent with the way they were managing their workload. I brought in a consultant to interview our HR Recruitment officers and document their processes. The resulting work was six different processes done by the Recruitment officers.
Weeks later, I still noticed that they were at a loss. They could not come back to me with simple things like how many applicants did we get for a certain position? How many candidates came from different sourcing channels. Why are some positions more difficult to fill than others? Actually, since they were clearly at a loss, they would simply not reply. One time, I walked over from my office and asked them why they had not replied to a particularly important inquiry from a hiring manager. I saw the ladies gazing at their laptop seemingly lost in thought. I asked them about the inquiry and they said that we have over a hundred job openings and they were trying to pull together the answer to my question. Long story short, they spent an hour on the inquiry only to come up with nothing.
Having observed this, I then gave a challenge to the same consultant that documented the Recruitment process. I asked him to pull all six processes spanning multiple pages into a one-page Recruitment process. I said that the process must be partially an image and links to the necessary tracking sheets and templates. The consultant was given a day. After the one-page process was drafted, I then walked two new HR recruitment officers through the process and invited their inputs. The process was tuned on the spot based on their feedback. We piloted the final version.
The ultimate test of compliance and a clear understanding of what’s happening in recruitment were the digital folders that are supposed to contain the CV’s of applicants. As applicants are being processed, their personal folders (containing their CVs, recruiters’ notes, employment requirements, etc.) move from one status to another. A master tracking list should also be capturing who is applying for what position along with their status.
I checked these digital tools a few days early and they are being properly and accurately populated. I asked the new recruiters questions about the process and they were able to answer properly.
We did not hold surveys or statistical analysis. We simply observed the recipients of a core HR process.
If you want your company, department or team to come up with meaningful innovation or ideas, start with paying attention to people. Pay attention with empathy and you will get to the heart of their problem and issues. Only then will you come up with sensible solutions.