What If Productivity Does More Harm than Good?

reframe productivity

The goals of productivity and efficiency cause such severe problems that I’ve put the bottom line up front: productivity, efficiency and standardization are profit killers. You must reframe them.

Reframe productivity and efficiency

  • Use evocative language to describe how your firm delivers life changing impact.
  • Use these descriptions in every conversation with clients.
  • Make this idea—”We deliver life changing impact”–the story of your firm. Every person in every position should be able to speak with passion about what that means.
  • Take more time for high value work and get compensated for the impact you deliver.
  • Figure out what your capacity is at the highest level, not the lowest level.
  • Stop trying to crank out quantity. Fill your capacity with clients who want life changing impact.

This CEO is Stuck and It’s Costing a Lot

Can you read this conversation without shaking your head?

CEO: “We did 347 websites last year. Our goal this year is 520, a 50% increase.”

I was flabbergasted as the firm owner bragged about these numbers. “How can you possibly do creative work at that scale?” I asked.

“We developed a standardized framework for websites, and we use that framework for every site. No deviations. Our dozens of designers make more money the more they produce. We reward speed. Our sales team is on commission, so they are highly motivated to increase the number of clients.”

“How many customers return for updates or revisions?” I asked.

“Almost none. That’s why our sales team is so aggressive. We need to keep the pipeline full.”

This owner prized productivity, efficiency, and standardization above everything else: quality, creativity, customer retention, and designers’ satisfaction.

And it turns out that the firm’s profit is a negligible 1.5% of top line revenue.

Unfortunately this scenario is too common

  • I met a couple who’d owned a tax prep firm for 30 years. They processed over 2000 tax returns per tax season at an average fee of $300. Finally they just wanted OUT!
  • I talked to the training company that relied on selling commercially available personality assessments. “Why?” I asked. “Because they are productive, efficient, and standardized.” The owners eventually realized that their profit was so low  because these assessments are commodities sold by hundreds of other firms.

Productivity, Efficiency, and Standardization are profit killers

These are the typical understandings about productivity, efficiency, and standardization:

  • productivity is about quantity
  • efficiency is about time
  • standardization is a combination of efficiency and productivity.

The messages?

“Crank out more standard work in less time.”

“Be a commodity, compete on price. Develop KPIs that are focused on quantity per time period.”

Profit Builders

Your perfect fit clients want innovation, customization, quality, and nurturing client relationships. They are the perfect fit because they value and will pay for these impacts.

The very essence of knowledge and expertise firms is their ability to create, innovate, and respond to unique or specific client needs, wants, and desires. Knowledge services firms can choose to fine tune and fit their work to the exact client situation.

That’s how you deliver life-changing impact that is worth profitable fees.

Need some answers to help you get STARTED?

“A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step” is a wise old proverb that hovers somewhere in the back of our minds.

Our STARTER call is that first step. It’s a complimentary 45 minute call where I answer your most pressing questions. You’ll get a couple of ideas to make your next steps the right ones on your way to you goal.

Email or text 703-801-0345 to request a STARTER call. I’ll get back with a couple of dates/times within the next 10 days.

Don’t let an unanswered question stop you before you even start!

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