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10 Must-Know Productivity Secrets of High Performing Teams

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Teams around the world face a huge issue: the average employee is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes per day!

It’s time to ramp up your team’s productivity to make every day count. To help with this guide is bestselling author James Clear. He’s the author of Atomic Habits and has more than a million people subscribed to his weekly newsletter.

What Is Team Productivity?

Team productivity is the measure of desired output and efficiency in a group effort. Groups with high team productivity are able to effectively accomplish their tasks in a desired amount of time, while teams with low team productivity may spend too much time chatting, being distracted, or not prioritizing their important tasks.

10 Productivity Secrets That Make a High-Performing Team

Team productivity can save your team time and money in the long run. Here’s how to increase productivity:

10 Must-Know Productivity Secrets
of High Performing Teams infographic

Set Micro Goals

A micro goal is the smallest milestone you can achieve to reach a larger goal. For example, if your goal is to lead your inexperienced team to eventually start demoing your product, your micro goals might be these:

  1. Finish the first draft of your product demo outline
  2. Finish your revisions of your product demo outline
  3. Hand in your outline to the product manager
  4. Send out an email to discuss a weekly team meeting for the dem

…And so on.

Micro goals are small, measurable goals that eventually lead up to your big goal.

In a team setting, micro goals are critical because they allow team members to utilize the progress principle. The progress principle is, according to Harvard, a phenomenon in which “the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run.”

Action Step: Look at your goals list for your team and create micro goals from them! Each large goal can have a couple or dozens of micro goals. Don’t have a goals list yet? Learn to create goals.

Make Your Communication Spaces

If you’re in a team that doesn’t get a lot of 1-on-1 time (especially in remote teams), then setting up open lines for communication can really help boost productivity.

Try these ways of having open communication:

  • Set up your online chat rooms to have specific times for open questions and times for focus.
  • Set up weekly or bi-weekly 1-on-1’s with the members of your team
  • Stay on top of your emails (and learn to craft the best emails)
  • Leverage texts. Video calls aren’t the only means of communication (and they can even lead to burnout). Try opening up your communication lines via business texting, Slack, or other messaging apps.
  • Use the right communication tools. Whether you’re online or just in the office, there are a host of communication tools for the job. Find the right ones with this guide: The 15 Best Team Communication Tools For Businesses

Be a Role Model

In a team setting, it might be a good idea to do the same tasks your team members do occasionally (aka don’t always delegate), especially if you’re already familiar with the task.

Managers might make a huge mistake by delegating the same task that they’ve “mastered,” but slowly losing the skills over time to do it again. When you brush up on your skills with your other colleagues, you might even find better ways to be productive in the process!

Action Step: Once a week, go over the tasks your team members are doing. Is there something on the list you haven’t done in a while? Try doing the task solo or collabing with them!

Offer the Right Work Policy

Technological changes in the world have solidified the once-unrealistic idea of working anywhere in the world instead of working in the office.

Now, remote workers are increasingly common, and 95% of remote workers report having the same or higher levels of productivity than working in the office. Having a remote work schedule or at least a schedule that allows semi-remote days can really help boost not only productivity, but team happiness overall.

Design The Environment

The environment you’re in can drastically affect your team’s performance. For example, this study shows that simply providing a view of greenery and landscape reduced the amount of sick leave employees took per year.

At work, what kind of environment are you in? If you’re in an office, does it encourage people to cross paths and communicate or run to each other in the hallway to talk more?

You can even take things into a smaller perspective. Screens and digital devices are a big opportunity for this. For example, putting your favorite app on the first screen of your phone so it’s the first thing you see can help with distractions.

Whether you value convenience, collaboration, or focus, design your environment to reflect that.

Hyperfocus on One Thing

A big problem in team settings is that everyone might be working on something different—Jamie’s working on the presentation for a big client, Bob’s programming the new website layout, and Dylan’s planning the next meeting.

Studies have shown that multitasking makes us less efficient and more likely to make mistakes—and the same applies for teams as well!

Instead of multitasking, try this:

  • Select the one big task you’d like your team to work on.
  • Set a timer for 15 minutes (or more).
  • Hyperfocus. Tune out all distractions and focus on this one task.

Once you start eliminating the smaller things in your team, you may be able to deliver more and scale your team’s productivity.

Find Your Metrics

If you can measure your team’s performance, you can improve upon it. Whatever goals your team is chasing, having clear, measurable metrics can help measure overall team productivity.

This means really diving deep to reveal what metrics actually matter for your team. For example, here are a few metrics your team might want to measure:

  • Leads generated. If you’re running an online business, you might measure your performance by the number of new potential customers that subscribe to your newsletters or optins.
  • Sales revenue. If you are selling a product or service, looking at the total amount of revenue generated from sales might be worth measuring.
  • Customer satisfaction. Surveying your customers can help you get to know how satisfied they are and how your products are satisfying their needs in the long run.

Create Your Level Ups

When working in a team, you’ll tackle milestones and gain experience along the way. Level ups are important milestones you can see in your team workspace to visualize your progress along the way.

Some examples of level ups you might place in your office might be:

  • Golden stars hanging on the walls
  • Banners and group pictures of your team celebrating your accomplishments
  • A finish line with a paper cutout that moves along the way as you progress

Action Step: Decorate your environment! Find a creative way to celebrate your team’s achievements.

Host Appreciation Days

Along with showcasing milestones, complimenting and showing appreciation to your teammates on a regular basis can boost productivity. For example, take pastor and author Craig Groeschel. He started the idea of Gold Star Fridays, where he gave out a gold star to his employees for doing great work.

You can check out this awesome day in action here:

High-performing teams feel appreciated.

Want some more great employee appreciation ideas? Check out these employee appreciation tips: The 43 Best Employee Appreciation Ideas by Industry

Keep Teams Small

According to BBC, there’s a significant change in how teams operate when group numbers reach 20. The big shift that occurred is that at 20 members, people started diverging from the main group, ultimately dividing the group into smaller teams.

To be a really efficient team, you might want to consider keeping your team as small and efficient as possible.

Action Step: Thinking about adding more members to your team? Try analyzing all your sticking points and optimize them instead of trying to add more members.

Bonus Tip: Establish And Maintain

A critical strategy of team performance is to:

  1. Establish the habit, and
  2. Continue doing it.

It might seem simple, but establishing the habit comes from setting the right goals that are not too big to start off with (remember the micro goals?). And continuing the high-performing habits comes from consistent and correct goal planning.

Not sure where to start? Tackle all your goals with our ultimate guide: Goal Setting: 5 Science Backed Steps to Setting and Achieving Your Goals

How to Deal with Difficult People at Work

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I’ll show you my science-based approach to building a strong, productive relationship with even the most difficult people.

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