Improving Workflow

by | Sep 10, 2021 | Business, Jobs

3 practical steps to improve your productivity despite limited resources by Jeff McManus

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”

This passage in Luke can sometimes prove applicable in the workforce nowadays.

Sometimes we feel like we just don’t have enough people on the team to get the job done right and on time, and that can cause us to not give it our all.   

When I first started working as a landscape leader, it took us 10 days to mow the entire college campus.

It didn’t take us long to realize that this, no pun intended, wasn’t going to cut it, and changes needed to be made.   

The question was, how do we solve the problem of reducing mowing time and reduce the number of people needed to do the work? 

As with most leaders, the work was there but the resources were limited, and that was my moment to determine what we would do to work smarter and not harder and still get the desired results.

In the end, these three practical steps helped seal the deal:   

  1. Empower by delegating
  2. Hire smarter people than me
  3. Slow down to speed up

Delegating can be one of the most difficult tasks for a leader because we sometimes feel hardwired to do everything ourselves.

I want it done right, so I do it myself.

But trying to do it all alone is the fastest way to burn yourself out.

Empower the people around you and invest in them. I want to work myself out of the job as they get better and better.   

Many leaders are intimidated when someone smarter than them is on the team, but I urge you not to shy away from working with someone smarter than you.

Embrace what they know and learn from it.

Do you ultimately want leaders on your team or just followers?

Again, I want to work myself out of a job because I have great people working on my team. 

This last one may sound tricky, but it all boils down to thinking about how your team performs daily tasks.

Take time to think through your processes, seek input from the team and spend time workshopping what could be done to become more efficient.

Why should we do this?

In the long run, taking this time to slow down will allow you to speed up.   

Once a month, our teams have leader-to-leader meetings where they take time as a team to slow down, talk through problems and come up with solutions.

This is a time for personal growth that allows them all to get on the same page.

It also helps us all grow our trust, harmony and efficiency with one another and allows us to speed up.

Keep in mind that this step requires consistency to be successful.   

When you see others becoming good at things you use to do, it frees you up to plan for the future and develop growth opportunities for the organization.   

What is one thing you can teach someone else to do that, right now, you are the only one able to do it? 

Jeff McManus is Director of Landscape Services at Ole Miss, a keynote speaker, webinar leader and author of the book Growing Weeders into Leaders. Visit jeffmcmanus.com

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