How to Lead Your Team to Success
While Working Less

See also: Effective Team-Working Skills

As we all know, traditional labor has changed a lot in recent years. Our world is becoming more and more digital every day, and the way that organizations and teams achieving their business goals is becoming more sophisticated using advanced digital tools and methodologies.

But, are teams more effective than they were?

As a manager, the leader of your team, can you spot a significant improvement in your team's performance in comparison to last year, last quarter, last month, last week? Yesterday?

Or is your team - like most teams - stuck and struggling to get over the productivity plateau?

Be honest, do you think that your team is productive? Really progressing and becoming better with every day passing? Do you think that their time is being used properly? 

As the leader of the team, you are responsible for the business results. You are the boss, my friend, and it's up to you. Well, the good news is are the leader of your team! It's your team, your call, and you definitely have the ability to change the way things are working now, setting new and better standards, and scaling your team's performance significantly - even in a very short period of time.

Let me ask you this, if you'll be a little open-minded: do you think that you will be able to allow your team to work less - while achieving a lot more? Even doubling your team's results in just over two months?

So, let’s take a closer look at the key elements for achieving this.

Why most teams are not productive 

What are your employees "doing" during their 9-hour "workday"?

Scrolling their social media feeds, texting, watching videos, chit chats in the kitchen or coffee lounge? Throughout a big chunk of their "workday", employees are doing nothing, wasting their and everybody's time.

"Wait a minute it's not fair! You can't work all day long! Cut us some slack!"

That's 100% true.

But, and this is pretty amazing, it means that all of the work can be done much quicker in fewer hours, and probably at much higher quality, if only they were able to better concentrate (and to be better incentivized).

Also, maybe your employees do deserve some grace, since much of this low productivity may be because they simply don't know what they're supposed to do.

Does your team know what they're supposed to be doing each day?

Do your employees know their daily/weekly/monthly goals?

And this is where you step in. Can you tell me how you are communicating your business goals on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?

Be honest: Are you really measuring your team's performance properly?

Do you have a clear metric for all aspects of your team's work?

Do you know how to break down these metrics into small clear actions?

It's a lot easier to complete small, clear, and accurate actions, rather than a vague, amorphic, salad of things that you've talked about in your last monthly meeting.

As the leader of your team, does everyone know exactly what they're supposed to be doing today, tomorrow, next week? Or do they come to your office asking you to clarify what should they do? Are your goals and instructions concise and detailed? Be honest!

Breaking down the missions and goals to a small detailed series of actions is the key for total clarity - your guys will then know exactly what they should do, and you can monitor their progress very easily.

Also, your job is not only to achieve the goals, but to make your team and each employee better every day, so they become more valuable to your department, and set standards of quality for the entire organization.

As the leader of the team, are you improving their skills and qualities?

What are you doing to make your team better every day?

The miracle of the 1% rule

OK, this is where things start to get really interesting. What if I told you that you could double your team's results in 70 days? What would you give for that? How much money is such an outcome worth to your company?

"I'm not going to kill my team for a 70-day sprint! It makes no sense and they all going to hate me after!"

That's 100% true.

But, and this is the really amazing part, you don't have to kill anyone, you just need to make your guys better by only 1% every day. THAT'S ALL.

Yes, it's just simple math, it's not complicated, it's the miracle of compound interest, of momentum.

How can that be?

  • Day 1: 100%. Today, Joe, your product manager, started improving his performance by 1%.

  • Day 2: 101%. Joe gave today a little extra, improving by another 1%.

  • Day 3: 102.1%. Joe arrives 10 minutes earlier, getting another 1% done.

  • Day 20: 122.02%. Joe keeps going, getting that 1% extra every day.

  • Day 41: 150.38%. After 41 days of giving 1% more, Joe is now 50% better than before!

  • Day 60: 181.67%. After two months Joe is on fire! He's more than 80% better than before!

  • Day 70: 200.68%. After just over two months, Joe is as productive as two old Joes. WOW.

You don't have to kill anyone, you don't need Joe to become a superhero or the toughest man alive all of a sudden, you just have to get your team to be 1% better every day.

And when you have a plan that is based on small and detailed actions, you can explain to every member of your team exactly how they need to improve by 1% every day. Show them the exact way to be better, just by a tiny 1% every day, no more than that.

How to lead your team to work less while achieving more

OK, so now that you know how to double your team's performance, it's time to take a fresh overview of the way you look at your team's 'workday'.

If you have a list of small actionable daily goals that your team needs to be better at by 1% every day, does it matter how long it takes them to get that 1%?

If you want your employees to work 1% harder and better every day, how can you incentivize them to reach that? What do they want? And how can you give it to them?

Well, employees generally want several things from their work environment, but not all of the elements, like salaries, colleagues, location and others, are under your control. But you can offer them an opportunity to work less.

My guess is that if you allowed your guys to work only 5 hours per day in exchange for getting a daily 1% extra, and an extra 200% after 70 days, they'll all be for it.

And they can get the job done in 5 hours, no doubt. When you only have 5 hours to complete all your tasks, you don't have time to be on social media! You don't have time to gossip in the kitchen! You are solely focused on getting the job done: you are VERY productive.

The deal is simple - your guys give you 1% extra, and you give them 4 hours of their lives per day, 20 hours a week, 80 hours per month! Pretty good deal right?

Once you pitch it that way, talking about all the great things that they can do in these 80 hours, it's easy to convey the 1% idea to them, to make them give a little extra for you.

Your Job begins now

Now that you know how to double your team's productivity, and how to convince them to follow you, what's left is to craft the small-action, detailed, accurate plan. This is your job, and it starts now.

You don't need to have the perfect plan for getting started, you just need to know exactly what you want at the end - which I'm assuming that you know well already - and start breaking it into small enough pieces. You'll figure out the rest along the way, 1% every day.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Interpersonal Skills eBooks.

The Skills You Need Guide to Interpersonal Skills

Develop your interpersonal skills with our series of eBooks. Learn about and improve your communication skills, tackle conflict resolution, mediate in difficult situations, and develop your emotional intelligence.

About the Author

Vision, Belief, Change inspires people to live the life they want, through opening their minds to new perspectives and possibilities, and providing them with practical tools for achieving their goals and dreams.