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Jan 21
2015

Improve Your Productivity

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

Most businesses want to improve productivity. Usually the more efficient the business is, the stronger the profits. Often a business owner will seek a great breakthrough to improve productivity. Then, the breakthrough fails to materialize. The truth is that you increase productivity by putting together a series of small improvements that generate a major change over time.

The Jewish people were traveling to the Promised Land. They wanted to move in and set up housekeeping in one surge. However, the Lord told them, “The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.” (Deuteronomy 7:22, NIV) We read later that “Joshua took the entire land, just as the Lord had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war” (Joshua 11:23, NIV) It’s true that the people received the land promised by the Lord, but the conquest took some time and was achieved with small steps.

Most change moves slowly, except after a war, plague, or major breakthrough. The slowness gives time to adjust and recover from mistakes. I remember when I heard about the first FAX machine. I didn’t think we needed this type of expensive equipment. When I understood the impact of the FAX, I realized my mistake. While the entire FAX system has transformed radically, the change was a series of smaller changes that moved from a cumbersome machine with funny paper to becoming a seamless part of our computer. Originally, it took time to send a FAX. Today you just scan a document, and with a few clicks, you’re done. This remarkable change happened over time, with many improvements along the way.

Through high school I played the French horn. The director would place new music in each folder, and you were expected to start practicing before the group began rehearsal. I butchered some pieces the first few time through, but after some work; I developed some competency with the music. However, I was not ready for prime time. I needed to improve. While my improvement was minor after each session, in the end the change was significant.

When I started writing, I took a lot of time to organize my thoughts and get a draft done. Today I believe I am 75% more efficient in creating material, but this has been a 20-year journey. While progress in any given year was slow, the change over time was dramatic.

Most of your improvements will take time as well. If you sell, you may learn a few lessons that have a major impact; but mostly you gain skill little by little as you learn to listen and read the mind of prospective customers. Small steps learned over time produce the best results.

Adopt the habit of working to improve something every day, every week, and every month. Over time, small steps will result in more efficient business.

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