Apparent productivity in white-collar work
What is productivity? Wikipedia definition for productivity is:
What does that mean in Blue-collar work? The productivity of manufacturing and other manual labor (Blue-collar) is pretty easy to measure and control. More input means more output. More hours labor in means more products or services out. Streamlining of the processes and ways of working, means more output with same hours of input or same output with less hours input. Same applies to introduction of new machines, they produce more output with less cost. In blue collar work it is straight forward because of the fact that the goal is very well known: to produce a certain product or service.
What about productivity in white-collar work? Many companies have adapted the blue-collar productivity measures also to the white-collar work. Namely this means putting more hours in and believing there will be more results. That works fine if you truly know what your goals are. The question is if you are really focusing on the right things or are you wasting your time to things that actually do not contribute to your goals? Have you actually defined your primary goal? You may have a paper called “mission statement” or “vision”? But, do you truly believe in your mission statement and live it in your daily work? Or is it only words on paper that you wrote for strategy presentation?
Without having a compass which is this case means a clear goal, a mission, a vision, a direction that everyone knows and is committed to live daily, it is impossible to work in to the right direction. You become non-productive and in-efficient. Without a direction you end up spending wast amount of time and effort on things that are basically worthless. Maybe you should re-consider your mission statement and the way of working. It may even make sense to ask from the people who are doing the job to write their own mission statement or job description. After all, they are the experts doing the job and they should be living the mission day by day. This approach can be called question based leadership and it is the key to productivity, efficiency and organizational well being.