Yesterday, I posted how managers can’t and shouldn’t try to drive productivity.

I got to thinking about this topic further and realized that the focus when trying to improve productivity is misplaced in many cases.

Productivity is measured “in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.”

Too often, the focus is on pushing on the inputs to increase the output. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to see this work, and almost always, quality takes a hit and widens the gap.

Instead of pushing on the inputs or outputs, start by focusing on the gap between inputs and outputs.

Take, for example, if the people are working overtime to meet their objectives barely. Work with your teams to close the gap so they can deliver the same output without any overtime.

Then, keep working on the gap. Soon you will find they will be delivering the same output and have time to spare. That’s when you have the opportunity to increase output without demoralizing or burning out your people.

You’ve got this.

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