How is your team’s productivity?

Understanding team member's pace can improve business outcomes.

Understanding team member’s pace can improve business outcomes.

Do you know the natural pace of everyone in your team?  If you don’t, chances are your team is capable of giving you more output than it currently is.

In my last article I discussed the concept of natural pace and how you can use it to increase your productivity while actually decreasing your effort levels.  In other words – more output, less input.

Last time I discussed how it’s important for people to work more closely to their own natural pace. Let’s now think about this from a team perspective.  No doubt you will have a mix of people with different paces in your team.

What happens when people of different paces need to work together?

People of different paces will prefer to work in many different ways.  For example faster paced people will generally prefer shorter meeting length, shorter emails and will probably access their emails more often than the slower paced colleagues.

These and many other differences may result in friction in the workplace if people don’t understand each other’s pace. For example the faster paced people may think the slower paced people are wasting their time in meetings while the slower paced people think the faster paced people are trying to rush them and therefore decrease the quality of their work.

Once the pace of each of your team members is known and more importantly understood it’s easier for people to start to use these differences for good rather than evil.

Let’s take an example

Dave is an adviser who is fast very fast paced (75 according to the pace indicator).  He works with Michael who runs their compliance team (27 according to the pace indicator).  Dave may send an email request to Michael about a very important client that needs an urgent response.  Of course Dave expects a response in around 10 minutes.  Michael prefers to access his email twice a day to maximise his productivity.

Dave then tries calling Michael who is deeply engrossed in a task and so lets the phone go to voicemail.  By this stage Dave is of course fuming and walks to the other end of the office to see Michael and in a less than co-operative tone asks for a response to his email.  Michael assumes it’s another request that isn’t as urgent as Michael claims it to be (they rarely are) and so gets defensive about being spoken to in a certain way and is less likely to be helpful.

Dave comes across as rude and Michael comes across as unhelpful.

What if they both understood each other’s pace?

If both Dave and Michael both understood each other’s pace the situation could be very different.  If they did they would have understood that they just prefer to work differently and would have worked out a way to work together.

For example, Dave will know that Michael only accesses email twice a day and prefers to work with little interruptions.  Michael will realise that Dave is not being rude, he just likes juggling a number of tasks and prefers quick responses so that he can move quickly between tasks.

They may have negotiated that Dave will email for less important things and try not to bother Dave unnecessarily for things that can wait.  Michael will also be prepared that some things really do need a quick response and that Dave will call when truly urgent and will make an effort to action those rare items as quickly as possible even if engrossed in a task he would prefer to complete first.

Pace may also change the way you assign tasks to people

Another example is if you are allocating say three tasks to two different people doing the same job description but with different paces, you may choose to give all the tasks to the fast paced person at the same time.  They will then jump around between the tasks for variety.  This will energise them and raise their productivity.

Conversely you may give the other person the same tasks one at a time or at least let them know that they can choose to work on the tasks one at a time so that they don’t feel too stressed.

Why not consider pace as part of the hiring process?

You may even want to consider a person’s pace before you hire them.  If you have a role that requires the successful candidate to focus on one task for longer periods, you might want to know their pace.  If their result was something like 72 that’s probably a red flag that they will find the job taxing.  It doesn’t mean they can’t do it or won’t do it well.  It justs means that they would feel like they have to expend a lot of mental energy in the role.  At the end of the day their chance of burnout is higher and that may not really serve you or your business.

So the more people know about not just their own pace, but also the pace of those around them, the more productivity (and harmonious) your team is likely to be.

If you or your team doesn’t know each other’s natural pace, please go to www.inside80performance to “calculate your pace” to start your journey to your productive best.

And of course if you would like more tips on maximising your team’s productivity while keeping them energised and burnout free please contact Inside 80 Performance.

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