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By MSI - PRODUCTAlec Blacklaw, McKinley Plowman & Associates, Perth.

A new financial year provides business owners and managers with an opportunity to step back for a moment to identify ways and means of lifting personal and business productivity. Get it right and both top line and bottom line can see the impact. The following are five simple items that can result in productivity gains:

1. Focus – personal

Each week, write down your goals for the day and the week in a document that will provide the framework for how you will spend your time. This should be broken down in priority to cover the critical areas of your business. Include the date for completion, exactly what needs to be completed – and what the next steps will be.

2. Manage your time – personal

Spend 80% of your time on the important stuff that allows you to reach your goals. Have a mindset of time urgency using your time on what’s important for your success. Make sure you have a well-worn system for delegating to other people on your team to support your implementation. Finish what you start, touch it once and take action on each item. Don’t let emails and the telephone interrupt you, make appointments and allocate 20% of your time to the small things that, however small they may be, need your involvement.

3. Get more out of what you’ve got – 1% gains – whole of business

Every business invests in its people, infrastructure, brand, clients and alliance partners.

Rather than looking for the next best thing, focus on how you can improve your performance across the board: look for the 1 per cent gains in every area of operation to deliver more value for your clients – you will likely find that the associated ideas will be cost effective and leverage the investment you have already made.

4. Share your business plan – whole of business

Communicate your vision and point of difference with your team and clients. It’s shouldn’t be a secret! Countless research studies confirm that if your team understands your vision and your plan for achieving it your results will improve. So why not develop a one page business plan, and communicate this to your full team – with regular quarterly updates to track performance against the plan? This will not just facilitate better two-way communication, it will also motivate the team, helping them to understand what the goals are and how they can contribute towards them.

Productivity will increase with the increased buy-in.

5. Responsibility and Accountability.

Break the critical elements of your business plan into bite size chunks– and allocate specific responsibility for each section of the plan to specific individuals, making it clear what needs to be achieved, the ultimate in KPIs. As results become apparent, accountability can be added by asking the individuals concerned to present the results as their own to senior management and the team.

Finally, review your productivity performance regularly, refine your plans, communicate the results and celebrate your collective success.

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