Do we really save time by cutting corners? It's a fallacy some leaders fall for when they try to do more faster. But the true measure of productivity is in the quality of results.
Eleven members of Ad Age Collective share real productivity tips that allow the busiest leaders to get more done with their teams without sacrificing the integrity of their work.
1. Document all processes.
Documenting processes is one of the least focused areas in startups that can yield the most benefit when it comes to efficiency and productivity. In a fast-growing company, I have learned firsthand the value of written processes because they help us avoid mistakes and better train new employees. When implemented properly, written-down processes also help meet deadlines and avoid miscommunication. — Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
2. Have shorter meetings with tighter agendas.
Too often agencies are conducting long, bloated staff meetings that are ineffective and inefficient. Time is money. Agencies need to learn to move faster and leaner. — Chad Robley, Mindgruve
3. Set clear and simple goals with your team.
To improve efficiency and productivity, leaders must get very, very clear on the final result they are trying to produce. Then, implement a ruthless planning and execution process where the goals are extremely simple to understand and are communicated clearly to the team. Clarity and simplicity of goals eliminate confusion and waste. That's how you get more done with your team. — Andy Mackensen, SnackNation
4. Time block your calendar.
The key to getting focused is to turn off all distractions and focus on one task at hand until it's complete. This has been a game-changer for my productivity as a leader. — Chris Brisson, Salesmsg
5. Loop in production early and often.
It's imperative for teams that work with production to understand when to include production, what deliverables look like, and to arm themselves with enough information to confidently react to a client's requests and expectations. Teams should avoid situations where momentum is lost with clients to say, "let's check in with production." Production teams should be brought in early and often. — Ryan Ingrasin, Edelman
6. Incorporate AI into your operations.
Leaders can begin to deploy artificial intelligence on the operations side (i.e. through project, task, capacity, or allocation management) to improve efficiency and productivity. — Mike Skeehan, Salted Stone
7. Train your team to focus on high-value activities.
HR business leaders must help their teams become skilled technology and data workers, transforming their work from low-value activities, like managing contacts in legacy, offline documents and writing one-off communications, to high-value activities like talent planning, targeting and marketing at scale, analyzing performance, and measuring the ROI of their talent acquisition activities. — Amy Heidersbach, CareerBuilder
8. Create value for customers at every touchpoint.
Storytelling enables marketers to reach and build lasting relationships with customers, which is critical in a world where audiences block ads. Brands that create experiences that customers find will break away from the competition, because they change that customer dynamic. If marketers create value with each touchpoint, suddenly customers welcome hearing from the brand. — Tom Gerace, Skyword
9. Start your day with the 'why.'
This is non-negotiable. Does productivity mean doing things faster? Does faster matter if it is not done right? This happens when we start with the "what" and makes us mechanical. But if you start with "why," you will connect with the purpose of the brand and then the "what" can evolve over time. Now you will impact the feeling of one customer at a time, and that is the true measure of productivity. — Arjun Sen, ZenMango
10. Find hybrid talent and build agile teams.
Hybrid talent and integrated, agile teams are the only way to do more with less, and it's the model that lends itself to faster ideation and production. It's incumbent on leaders to fundamentally change our business models by flattening large agencies into nimble teams, led by hands-on managers who are shaping the work and moving away from hierarchical, client-service models. — Tim Maleeny, Havas New York
11. Make time for you (and your team) to keep on top of industry trends.
A lot of people believe creativity is something you're born with and that inspiration is out of their control. The truth is, there's a clear path and a proven process you can take to get there as an individual and as a team. Leaders should always be consuming content from their industry and also make time for their teams to do the same type of learning; they cannot be the sole source. — Allen Gannett, Skyword