Friday, September 6, 2013

Lean Quote: Focus Drives Performance

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Nothing is Less Productive Than Doing What Should Not Be Done at All." — Peter Drucker

It's easy to get bogged down in doing things faster, better, and more efficiently. However, it's all for nothing if the thing we're trying to accomplish isn't going to provide any real benefit in the long run.

People often confuse efficiency and effectiveness, two very different concepts. Efficiency commonly means doing a job quickly. Effectiveness means doing the right tasks and doing them in priority order. Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things.

Most people manage time by looking for more time. This is not possible. The only way to make more time is to manage what we do with the time we have.

The 80/20 principle is key to increased productivity. 80% of our results are typically achieved from 20% of our activities. These high payoff activities have the most impact on our success now and in the future. The other 20% of our results, our low payoff activities, come from 80% of our work effort.

Many of us work in what I call “crisis management”. We are always doing. We manage second and communicate third. If we have time, we may plan and set goals. What does crisis management accomplish? People don't work together. Tasks don't get accomplished on time. Quality may be compromised. People get stressed and harried. The list goes on.

What if we could work in proactive way where we plan and set goals first, where we communicate and schedule priorities then track and measure results? Our results would be very different. Tasks would be finished on time with less waste, turnover and better quality, creating a positive work environment.

The key to increasing productivity while not working harder is to work on the right things.
High payoff activities drives focus. Focus drives performance. Performance drives results. Focus is key to developing success. Unified focus across an organization is one key to developing competitive advantage in your marketplace.

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  1. This remembers me of habit 3, "Put first things first", of Stephen Covey's "Seven habits of highly effective people".

  2. Such an interesting article to read, so many good points and love the point on crisis management, its so true!