Workplace Productivity Tip 2

image This is the second in a series of tips about Workplace Productivity. If you want to get noticed, promoted, a pay rise or simple get out of the door quicker at the end of the day then these may be helpful.

Understand the definition of your success.

Mike is told by his boss to get rid of all the garbage in the back office. His boss leaves for the day, Mike rolls his sleeves up and cracks on with the task of moving all the garbage in the backroom to the skip/dumpster out back. It’s back breaking work, but he gets it done just as his boss is returning to the office at the end of the day. His boss hits the roof !


Boss: What the hell have you been doing all day ?
Mike: Well I got rid of all the garbage like you said.
Boss: I didn’t mean do it yourself, I meant call in the cleaning contractors to do it, now you’ve wasted a whole day and we needed to get the new packaging for widgets finished – you’ll have to stay late and finish that.  Jeez, you binned the old Monitors as well, they were supposed to go to charity.
Mike (under his breath): Tosser…
Boss (under his breath): Bloody idiot…

This is a classic miscommunication problem – who is at fault ? The boss for not clearly defining the task ? Mike for not questioning to get a full understanding of what was expected of him ?Both in my opinion.

Regardless of who you think is to blame, you need to ensure it doesn’t happen to you, and you cannot force your boss / colleagues to explain every task in detail, so the onus is on you to get a full understanding of the task.

Ask Questions
You said get rid of the garbage, do you want me to actually move it ?
When do I need to have it done it by ?
(if the response is ‘as soon as possible’ then clarify with another question – ‘is the end of the day acceptable’

Set Expectations
Okay, I can do that, there’s a lot of garbage there though, it’s likely to take me all day.
That new packaging for widgets stuff I was working on will have to wait.

Restate the Task
Okay, just to be clear, I’m going to take all the garbage from the back room and move it to the skip/dumpster out back. There’s a lot of garbage so it’ll take me all day and the new packaging for widgets will have to wait till tomorrow.

Understanding the definition of your success is key. If you do not understand what your success looks like, how can you get there.

There is a lot more to cover here that helps with getting a better (and bigger picture) understanding of your success – interviewing your boss, agreeing priorities, understand others priorities in relation to yours, but we’ll save those for another post.

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