Three Ways To Maximize Your Entrepreneurial Output
This post was originally published in Forbes .
Maximizing output is one of the most important, delicate jobs that business owners, senior company leaders and entrepreneurs have. The ability to wring every penny out of a dollar invested, spent or saved is often the skill that affords young companies the chance to grow older.
This is magnified by the fact that there’s just only so much time in a day . As president and co-founder of GPC, I often find myself wishing that wasn’t the case. There’s always another late-night business call to attend, plane to catch, message to answer and project to start. These are followed by early-morning parent/teacher conferences, dance recitals and doctor appointments. Unfortunately, this doesn’t cover time spent on exercise and health pursuits or date nights with a spouse/partner (or, in my case, a new Game of Thrones episode to binge).
Luckily, there are a few tricks that we as a company – and I on a personal level – use to improve and maximize productivity. They’re not complicated or revolutionary, and there’s a fair chance you or your company are already using them in one form or another (or wishing you were). Below are a few tips to help like-minded leaders get started or provide established companies the last piece of that productivity puzzle they’re itching to solve.
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) are the ultimate productivity hack
Developed by Andy Grove at Intel in the 1960s, OKRs are, at the core, a framework to ensure a company, from top to bottom, focuses its efforts on the same issues. Every employee, in every division, develops high-level objectives – clearly defined goals – and corresponding key results, which act as measurable achievement benchmarks. The framework’s top-down, bottom-up approach is meant to foster transparency, meaning that my OKRs, though different from staff in our call centers or creative operations, are both visible to everyone in the company and all eventually ladder up to the same high-level goals and results.
GPC is a growing company. 200+ people in eight offices around the world comes with complications. Separate initiatives and passion projects stifle production by pulling one person, or a group of people, in several different directions. I’ve been guilty of this myself. But OKRs are designed to solve this by trimming company fat and kicking productivity in high gear. I still wear different hats, but the process has me – and our company – focused on the most critical objectives.
Hire smart, hardworking people – and trust them
About Apple’s hiring process, Steve Jobs was once quoted saying, “It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” This is an oversimplification of the process, especially in a young, growing company. But it reinforces the lesson I’ve learned from starting with a team of three and growing 200+ employees in eight markets globally – if you want to be productive, you can’t do everything yourself . Part of starting and growing a special, international business is hiring hard workers, delegating work and decisions, and learning to trust those carrying them out. Learn the lesson and watch productivity skyrocket.
Make smart choices when traveling
When traveling to our Asian, European and South American offices, I’m usually ready to work upon leaving the airport. I’m not a robot, but I often pull this off because I make smart choices before boarding – and while on – a long flight. This means I’m exercising and stretching before and after to regulate my body, skipping alcohol and hydrating with PH-balanced water, and passing-up all-you-can-eat buffets and packaged airline food to avoid any discomfort. Airports are the only places where you’ll find pizza places, burger joints and bars open – and full – at 8:00 a.m. Want to arrive at your destination ready to tackle the day? Hit that 10K step goal before your flight and say no to both four-course meals during your 15-hour flight.
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