If you want to increase productivity in your business, work less not more. A division of Microsoft Japan reduced the work week from five days to four, closing the office Fridays for everyone, and found productivity jumped forty percent! Yes, that’s right. Microsoft in Japan—not Microsoft in the United States or elsewhere. If Microsoft Japan can boost productivity in this way, so can you in your business.
The passing of an era in a company is often so subtle as to create an illusion of inertia, like the pushback from the jetway of a passenger jet that is only discernible by looking out the window but otherwise goes unfelt. Such changes in era are only remarked when someone asks, “Were we always like this?”
On the morning of March 11, 2011, I picked out a tie, checked myself in the mirror, and then left the house to go to Tokyo without knowing that I would never again leave that house the same way. It was only hours later that the massive 3/11 earthquake struck Japan and its deadly tsunami ensued.
There is no such thing as a labor shortage. In reality, there are more excellent people in Japan than you could possibly hire. You can have them, if you do things right.
The first step in growing a business, even in a labor shortage, is deciding what to cut. If you find that your business is dealing with the current labor shortage by taking more on and clinging to what you have, then heed my advice. If you want to grow, you must first let go. Let go of what, you ask? Read on, and I explain the top four.
If you want traction for change among individuals in your organization, it is only when there are clear standards of performance or behavior, accountability to meet them, and support to help people succeed that a change can take hold. In my experience, a deficit in any one of these three will alter the way any change is treated and viewed, and will lose traction as a result.
When a CEO asks me how to better motivate his or her employees to change, the focus is on the wrong thing. Motivation can get a person started, but only discipline can see him or her through to an outcome.