Monday, March 30, 2009

Find Your Passion for Productivity

Tom Landry, the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, once said something that may be true of nearly any motivator: “I have a job to do that is not very complicated, but it is difficult: to get a group of men to do what they don’t want to do so they can achieve the one thing they have wanted all of their lives."

Did you know that more points are scored in the last 2 minutes of the 4th quarter of a football game then in the other 3 quarters put together?  This is often used to prove the point that all of us work better with a deadline.  Which is a fact.  

However, I think it is more than that.  Have you ever felt like you had the time to accomplish something, but you didn't have the energy?  You lacked the physical energy, emotional energy, spiritual energy, mental energy, the motivation?

Energy in life is a resource that is often more valuable than time itself.  You see, time is made of not only hours and minutes, but energy.  So, whether you are playing football or working in your office you know you have to last a certain period of time mentally, physically, and emotionally.  

A runner knows that if they only have to run 100 meters they can run 10 times faster than if they have to run 10 miles.  The final 2 minutes of a game represent the last 100 meters.  The time when you leave it all on the field.  When you quit saving energy and let it all go.  When results are all that matters and conserving energy doesn't.

I have found it easier to be more productive, and turn out better quality work from a team by giving them short deadlines followed by a break.  For example, if you are an author, try to write fast and focused for 5 minutes, then stop and break, before coming back for another 5 minute session.

I know a lady friend of mine who consistently runs under a 4 hour marathon by running for 5 minutes and walking for 2 minutes.  I have seen this applied to concrete companies and insurance agents alike.   If you pay people by the hour, it encourages them to work slower and longer.  If you pay people based off productivity, it encourages them to work smarter and faster.  Which is an asset to any team or organization.

I am convinced that hourly employees can work half the time and accomplish the same amount of work.  Often higher quality work, if they are given a shorter deadline with twice the pay.

Still not convinced?  Try this, tell your team one day that they can go home at lunch time and get paid for a full day if they complete the full day's work by noon.  See what happens.  I would love to hear how it works out.

Of course, if you are a retail shop, a fast food restaurant, or any place where you have store hours, then sending them home at noon is not an option.  But, what if they were rewarded with a break after taking so many orders, ringing up a certain number of customers, folding so many boxes or clothing, then would productivity increase?  You bet it would.

It is time for our world to quit thinking hours and start thinking productivity.  After all:

“You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.”– Jim Rohn (American Business Philosopher, Author, and Speaker)

Article by Jon Bohm

Monday, March 23, 2009

Are you Visionary?

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to do.” - Kahil Gibran (1883-1931)

So, let me ask you?  Do you know where you want to be in 3 years?  5 years? 10 years?

That can be a very challenging question in today's ever changing environment.  As seen in Did You Know 2008.  A world like this requires Visionary people and Visionary Leadership.

If you have ever worked at an organization that was lead by reactionary leaders who were always deciding their next move based of the past instead of where they want to be in the future, then you understand how detrimental it is.

But, let's look at this on a personal level for a moment.  
  • What do you want your life to look like in 5 years?
  • In 3 years?
  • In 18 months to a year?
Sadly, it's a fact that more people spend time planning a 2 week vacation than they do their life or their business.  This is sad because that means life is simply just happening to a majority of people instead of them taking ownership and definitive action towards the life, love, friendships, and successes they really want.

So, what do you want?  Where would you like to travel?  What would you like to see?  Who would you like to become?  What would you like to accomplish?  What type of friend, spouse, sibling, spiritual person would you like to be.  The first step is dreaming about these questions.

Build a list of at least 50 (a hundred would be better) and write them down.   For some it is much more difficult then it sounds, but everyone enjoys it.

I encourage all my clients to have an on-going dream list that they can add to, and see accomplished.  A simple exercise with often huge results.

Take this study from Yale for example:

There is a famous study involving graduates of Yale University from the class of 1953. The students involved in this study were asked if they had a clear, specific set of goals for their future, and if they were written down with a plan for achieving them. Only three percent of those interviewed said that they did.

Twenty years later the researchers went back and interviewed the surviving members of that class. They discovered that the 3 percent with specific written goals had achieved more in financial terms than the entire other 97 percent put together. They also seemed to be happier and more “together” in every way.

Pretty amazing right?  After you build a dream list and write it down you may realize it's not as amazing as you once thought.  Do you know where your going?  Do you know WHO you want to become?  Is it written down?

It is far less productive in life to focus on where you have been than it is to focus on where you are going.  As you discover your future aspirations, you may even discover something about your own heart and passions.

Enjoy the journey!

-Jon Bohm

Friday, March 20, 2009

Responsibility = Power

"With GREAT power comes GREAT responsibility." - Uncle Ben in Spider-Man

What a great quote.  This is one of the great life changing "Laws of the Universe."  
It is true just like gravity is real.

Although, I think a truer statement would be that with "GREAT responsibility comes GREAT power."

It is true in any organization I have worked with, the person who takes on the most responsibility is also the person with the greatest influence in the company.  This does not necessarily mean that it is the person with the greatest position or authority.  It means the person with the most influence is always the person who takes the greatest responsibility.

It is a fact of life.  Test it for yourself.  Think of an organization you really know well.  Not one you read about in Fortune Magazine, but one you really know the players in.   
  • Who owned the least amount of responsibility?
  • Who owned the most responsibility?
  • Who had the most overall influence and power?
  • Who had the least influence and power?
I hope I made my case.  But, just in case, let's test it again.  

Everyday in life, we have the option to either be a Victim or to take responsibility for our lives, for our actions, for our families, for our organization, for our country.

The more we move toward the Victim mentality the more power and influence we lose.  The more we move towards responsibility the more influence and power we gain.


Scenario:  You are at work and you are getting chewed out because your department dropped the ball somewhere.  You have a choice to take ownership of that error or "pass the buck" and throw your team "under the bus."  It is a simple equation, if you take responsibility you will gain influence, if you pass the buck you will lose influence.  If you "pass the buck," it becomes clear that you are no longer the person your boss needs to talk with to get better results in the future, because you demonstrate it is "out of your hands."  Therefore, you lose the influence to make things better.  

When all the employees in an organization understand this, then everyone is fighting to take ownership and responsibility, the "buck" is no longer passed, and everyone works together to find solutions and take ownership of the success of the organization.  This is a powerful organization.

You can apply this same situation to your life, your family, or our political climate in America.  If we play the victim, we lose power and influence and transfer responsibility and therefore, influence to someone else.

So which one will you be?  You have a choice take ownership, or give up your influence and power.  It's that simple.  So Uncle Ben is correct, but maybe he should have said  "If you want POWER than take RESPONSIBILITY." 

- Jon Bohm