[PODCAST]: The Magic Ratio: How to Focus Your Efforts for Top Productivity

August 29, 2019 Theresa Edwards

Evan Green, Founder, and Chairman of Personiv was invited as a guest to speak on the Pro AV podcast over at Marketscale. When companies must come face-to-face with necessary change, calling the required adjustments “challenging” can be a major understatement. Green spoke to MarketScale’s Sean Heath about what it takes to be able to pivot on the precipice of change. It requires companies to take a long look at what it is that makes them exceptional and then sharpen their focus to a laser-like point. This allows leaders to devote themselves entirely to the passion that catalyzed their entrance to the entrepreneurial or corporate world to begin with.

Finding this focus — and keeping it — is never easy, even for professionals like Green, who founded Personiv over 30 years ago. At the core of the effort? A process. One that requires objectivity, introspection and a willingness to ask and answer questions about your business that you may not have considered before. Tune in below: 

 

First: Identify What Your Business Actually Does

Green, who has literally written the book on outsourcing, Beat Your Competition: 3 Key Principles of Successful Outsourcing began his discussion with MarketScale by pointing to one of the biggest obstacles businesses face when it comes to meeting productivity KPIs: their own lack of self-understanding. 

“I think a lot of people get trapped into obvious thinking, so they spend a lot of time maybe a whole career trying to stay above water without really knowing their business,” Green told Heath. It’s vital to be able to identify the core purpose of your business because once you do, it will likely become clear that much of what you spend your time on as a leader may not directly work in service to that purpose. When that happens, a business can struggle to stay competitive, or even go extinct, Green points out, referencing Kodak and Blockbuster.

“A great place to start is to really take a look at what the target of your company is,” Green urges. “What has others compelled to do business with us?”

Next: Make Sure 80 Percent of What You Do is What You ‘Do’

“There are too many examples of companies and entrepreneurs that die of indigestion versus starvation,” Green says using the self-identification process as a springboard for finding a sense of focus. “They’re chasing too many shiny objects. Focus is the key word.” 

Another danger of having a wandering sense of purpose? That businesses end up expending far too much energy and time on the peripheral functions of doing business. Instead, individuals and businesses need to remember the ratio of 80 to 20. 80 percent of every working day ought to be spent only on core or critical tasks rather than mundane busywork. To accomplish that, Green suggests taking a few steps to pare the workload down to its purposeful core:

Start by stopping: “Really look at what you’re doing that’s not making a difference,” Green explains, “and then just stop doing them.” A couple of things he suggests putting on the chopping block?

  • Holding unnecessary meetings
  • Generating redundant or unnecessary reports on a repeating timeline
  • Outdated processes
  • CCing too many people on emails, generating long reply threads

“These are distractions.” Green reminds listeners, urging leaders to simply allow these items and tasks to fall by the wayside, even if they only represent two seconds of someone’s time to complete them, because: “It takes someone much more than two seconds to refocus their attention.”

Ask what you can automate: The most important reason businesses have for existing is to delight customers, and that requires a team of human beings. But increasingly, there are items you can automate so you can apply precious human capital to things that actually matter. Green suggests using automation to:

  • Simplify your workflow
  • Implement an accessible funnel for your sales team
  • Manage your customer or client database with a CRM

Look at what you can outsource:  What makes most businesses irresistible to their customers isn’t the product they provide but the service, or even the innovative nature of the product, and outsourcing the tasks that are peripheral to those allows you not only to save money but to dedicate larger swaths of your time to improving them.  

Green is fond of citing industry behemoth Apple as an example of outsourcing done right. “[Apple is] not in the business of manufacturing iPhones,” Green reminds listeners. “They’re in the premium branding, product development business.” They let Taiwanese manufacturer FoxConn handle the daily work of assembling the product they’ve most famously developed.

“For most people, ‘iPhone’ is the first word that comes to mind when they think of Apple. Apple hasn’t manufactured a single iPhone.”

Maybe you already know what tasks you would sideline if you could. Maybe you need some help identifying what you could take out-of-house. Either way, Personiv can help. Contact us today to learn how you can increase productivity and achieve the magic ratio for yourself.

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