Here’s a look at three interesting stories currently in the news with ramifications for your team’s productivity.
1. Four times when you can settle for “good enough”
We’ve written in the past about how to fight off perfectionism and call a project complete, so we liked this piece at The Muse about four specific times when it’s okay to settle for “good enough” rather than flawless: First, when you keep changing your mind about how to approach a project, that’s often a sign that there isn’t one single best option and that you’re better off just picking one and going with it. Second, recognize that when urgency is more important than quality, obsessing over the details is at odds with the outcome you’re going for. Third, if colleagues with reasonably high standards think the project looks fine, you should probably be listening to them. And last, in some cases when the work may not be perfect but it will get the job done, “it could very well be the perfect time for you to just wipe your hands of it and take the next steps—rather than continuing to tweak, change, and refine.”
2. Make sure your team’s workload is divided fairly
This Harvard Business Review piece warns that while it might seem expedient to give your fastest team member more projects than other people or to pull back on assignments for someone who’s struggling, you risk losing high performers who will resent that they’re doing more than others. Instead, you should put real time and thought into ensuring that you’re divvying up assignments in a way that’s fair so that you have a purposeful plan rather than delegating work on the fly. You should also openly talk with employees about their share of your team’s collective workload – for example, helping a top performer reprioritize work before you add something else to her plate. And importantly, make it clear that you don’t equate hours with productivity; if someone gets great results despite leaving a bit early most days, you should publicly celebrate those results – and push back on any complaints about the person’s schedule by explicitly asking people to pay attention to accomplishments, not the number of hours someone works. All that said, the article also smartly points out that there might be times when fairness, as important as it is doesn’t trump the need to just get something done well and quickly – but you should make sure that over the course of a year, things balance out.
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3. How to tackle a project you’re dreading
If you’re dreading a project and keep pushing it back because you can’t bring yourself to sit down and dive in, this Inc. piece has good advice for making headway, including identifying the specific factors that are holding you back (like a project that seems too large and needs to be broken down into pieces, or that it’s work that you just don’t like doing), and then shutting yourself in a quiet room with only the things you need for the project and doing at least something related to moving it forward. It also advises figuring out your peak times of day when you’re most focused or energized; calling in reinforcements (people you can bounce ideas off of or get some early feedback from); and staying focused on how rewarding it will be to put this project in your back mirror.