Our current condition as a global business society is marked by destructive, as well as positive, outcomes of a rapidly changing, worldwide business and economic climate. No business, division, or employee – whether your organization is five people, a 50-person small business, or a 50,000-employee, multinational corporation, is going untouched.

In an age of restructuring, downsizing, reorganizing and a general re-evaluation of purpose, mission, corporate destiny and direction, a concern for employee as well as organizational productivity is at an all-time high, resulting in excessive stress. “Stress” can be defined as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” Based on rapid change, businesses are being pulled apart by unnecessary stress across all levels of the organization, and are therefore being less productive.

What is employee and organizational productivity, and what are the essentials involved in attaining it? Following are just a few of the “basics.”

Productivity is when an individual or organization grows and achieves greater success with the least amount of wasted resources, effort and time, resulting in less stress and a more stable, congruent business environment. This definition takes into consideration a number of issues:

– Reduced employee turnover
– High levels of employee satisfaction and empowerment
– Profits that can sustain the organization’s continued growth
– Market share that can contribute to continuation of the business enterprise
– Effective communication throughout the organization as well as in the marketplace
– Well-trained and motivated employees throughout the organization
– Innovative product development and a sensitivity to what consumers want and need now, as well as what they will want and need in the future
– Strong leadership and vision
– Management team in touch with the reality of the marketplace as well as the internal issues within their own organization
– Clear, established corporate direction uniformly communicated throughout the organization
– Corporate accountability at every level
– Definition of what success is for that organization
– Commitment to the health of the community, whether that community is the provincial/state, national, or global population.

I’m often asked by my corporate clients how to mitigate unnecessary stress, and improve sales, management or overall organization productivity. It’s never a simple answer, as you can see from the aforementioned list… and it’s not a complete list of the issues worthy of being considered when you evaluate overall organizational productivity and effectiveness. There are several key issues to consider:

– Foster employee, customer, and market loyalty through differentiation, and an understanding of how SIGNIFICANT your business and its mission really are.
– Optimize your management style. Always keep your edge honed by understanding what you don’t know about market conditions, and your ability to stay innovative and manage through them.
– Elevate your corporate culture. All businesses have culture, whether it’s intentional or not; cultures can create themselves. Unless you focus on deliberately sculpting a culture that’s congruent with your ideals, your culture might evolve in the wrong direction.
– Enhance communication patterns and systems. Know how your team communicates, and apply communication styles effectively. Don’t leave it to chance…
– Specify your corporate direction/vision/prime focus. If you don’t specify it, it will “specify” itself, in ways that are not always favorable. Make sure that everyone associated with your business knows what you stand for.
– Bolster and train toward competence levels of your employees. TRAINING, TRAINING, TRAINING! Equip and ensure that everyone who’s working within your organization is as good as they CAN be.
– Be aware of and augment your competitive posture. The marketplace can be brutal, especially if you don’t stand strong amidst it. Know your differentiators and leverage them.
– Remain consciousness of the perception(s) of your organization in the marketplace (vendors, customers, competitors). This is beyond your implied USP; it’s what the marketplace REALLY thinks about your business. KNOW this, and change it if you must.
– Maintain attentive to the attitudes and perceptions of your organization by your employees. Internal factors are the primary effectors of external results. Each of your employees represents the face of your business. Are they representing it the way you want them to? There’s huge opportunity to optimize this…

A lot to consider? Perhaps. But, if you want a productive, less stressed, more effective organization, and to not pay only lip service to productivity, spend some thinking time about these points, as well as other issues that affect your organization. Then stop thinking, and DO something about it.