Creating a smoothly running team doesn’t happen overnight. It takes practice, commitment, and above all a routine. That’s the key – finding a routine that works with the dynamic of your team. We’ve tried several different techniques to improve team productivity, and these are a few of our favorites:
Lay a solid foundation
Before diving into any new techniques, open your team up to new methods of thinking, problem-solving, and operating by having everyone read a few motivational business books. The idea is to Prime your team for any operational changes that will follow. Some of our favorites include:
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan
Manage Your Day-to-Day by Jocelyn Giel
Begin making process guides
Although it may seem like a mundane task, building process guides will save your team a lot of time in the long run. Have each person on your team list out all activities they handle – from pulling reports to following up with clients to sending invoices. Once that list is made, each member can begin making a process guide by listing step-by-step instructions on completing each particular task.
The idea is that if needed, anyone should be able to step in and help with another team member’s duties. In the event that a team member is out unexpectedly, no project or task should fall flat.
Meetings pull people away from whatever it is they are doing. They can also divert into a mashup of weekend updates, mindless chatter, and wasted time. If you want to run your meetings more efficiently, do this:
Always have an agenda
Limit team stand-ups to 15 minutes or less
Start on-time, no matter what
Have informal, micro-meetings – simply chat in person or pick up the phone
Keep a “parking lot” list for discussing topics that begin to sidetrack the conversation
Start (and maintain) team traditions
Whether it’s Whiskey Wednesdays, recapping Game of Thrones on Monday, or midday yoga, start a regular, team agreed upon, tradition. The most important part is to keep it going at all costs. Plan on keeping the tradition for a set period before voting on a new one. Shoot for a quarter, but a month may be more appropriate depending on your team’s size. Bringing the team together to an event will keep morale and spirits high. As we all know, when employees are happy, they’re more productive.
Leverage productivity tools
Email doesn’t always cut it. Web-based productivity tools have helped change the way teams interact, streamlining communication more efficiently than ever. Applications like Asana, Slack, and Hipchat allow teams to communicate through projects without relying on massive email chains. Asana, for example, allows users to keep track of tasks, projects, due dates, required assets, and more. These tools are an excellent resource at your disposal and ones that you will see the benefit from immediately.