Productivity and knowledge workers (esp. when right-sizing)

What do you suggest to increase the productivity in a consulting services organization, and why?

Lori’s Answer

You have asked about how to increase productivity (and why) in a consulting organization. And I believe you are referencing that there is “right-sizing” happening in your organization due to the economy. Based on this premise, I will address the question…

First, it is important that you are a team of knowledge workers. It is typically harder to quantify the productivity in a practical way, but it is not impossible.

My response considers a simple definition of productivity as “doing the right things right.”

Here are some tips you can use:

  1. If you leverage technology as a means to improve productivity then consider measuring the “return on information.” This is a function of meeting strategic goals with the data flowing through your organization. Basically you want to translate data into information…useful & timely.
  2. Measure both the qualities and quantities related to being productive. This is also called working smart and eliminates busy work, unprofitable work, and work done because of and interruption rather than what really matters most (what is important rather than what is simply “urgent” but not important).
  3. Align work with the organization’s objectives. This typically Involves matching job descriptions with Strategy, then matching the improved description with what is actually being done.

Remember to consider risk in your productivity or “doing the right things right” measure. Nothing can cause a greater time sink for a consultancy than having to clean up a mess (bad PR, lawsuit,
upset client, etc.)

Later you could create a measurement system and a means for employees to provide feedback, which – I think you’ll be amazed – can actually help them self re-align with their role as it relates
to what you expect (your Strategy).

You get what you measure!
And you can only measure what can be defined.

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