Recessionary Productivity Strategies: How to Get Lean and Mean in 2009, Part 2 of 3, By Laura Stack, MBA, CSP

laura-stack3Re-emphasize accountability.

Once you’ve helped your people understand how their work has changed – what has been added, eliminated, or modified for each individual performer – it is time to set crystal clear parameters for accountability.

That means setting specific, hopefully measurable, performance objectives so that employees know where they stand and what is expected of them. In fatter economic times, a paycheck can be taken for granted and productivity can slip. Now, as we are all aware of how lucky we are to be doing what we are doing, it is a perfect time to revisit expectations and ensure that everyone is meeting the demands of their job.

Remember, a productive employee knows:

What work they should be doing. This means getting back to basics and making sure everyone’s job description has kept up with the times.

What work they shouldn’t be doing. In the spirit of being a helpful, “good” worker, many employees will never say “no” to anything. You need to empower them to do so and let them know you’ve got their back.

What constitutes success? Remember, specific and tangible. What should they be doing? What will the desired results look like?

Without this basic information, your folks might stay incredibly busy, but are unlikely to be as effective or productive as you need them to be.

Beyond that, let them know what you expect and be clear on the consequences of falling short of expectations. It isn’t a threat, it’s just a matter of creating a framework of accountability and making sure everyone knows the new rules of the game.

Part 1 discussed the importance of “sharing the plan”. Click here to read segment 1.

© 2009 Laura Stack. Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author, and professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time®. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations. Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces. She is the bestselling author of three works published by Broadway Books: The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office Earlier (2004). Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco Systems, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and 3M. To have Laura speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401. Visit to sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.

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