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By Erin (Mack) McKelvey
June 15, 2015

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What’s your best advice for staying productive at work?” is by Erin (Mack) McKelvey, CEO of SalientMG.

In its purest definition, productivity means that value is being created. The more senior an employee or executive becomes, the more value he or she should bring to the company; therefore maximizing and measuring productivity over cost is key for any organization. Over the years, I’ve learned that there are five facets that are inextricably linked to productivity; planning, time management, accountability, measurement, and reward. Each facet is equally as important to the company and the individual; and a combination of all five will lead to the highest level of productivity:

Planning: What resources do I need to achieve success?
Nothing can be achieved without a plan of attack. Get your objective off a to-do list and place it in a format that is easy to update, understand and distribute. Include in data-based milestones, if applicable. Also, it’s a rarity in business that someone achieves a goal completely on their own: we often depend on the help of other colleagues. Having the right resources, including head count, is an integral part of overall project management. The tighter the plan, the more goal oriented, accountable and motivated teams and individuals become.

Accountability: How am I going to track and report progress? At a previous company of mine, we had daily operational reviews every morning. These meetings started and ended with the previous day’s data covering program performance, revenue assurance and operational challenges. The meetings were quick, but every day, every attending employee knew what would be measured the following day. This approach led to incredible productivity for the individual contributors, the directors that managed them and the teams and departments as a whole.

Time management: How can I ensure I am focused on results versus activity? I recently returned from my daughter’s orientation at the University of Alabama. In the Business School’s presentation to the incoming freshmen, the speaker firmly stated that time management was the key to success. He showed how students should break down their schedule for class, studying and personal time; and he emphasized that productivity can only be achieved by testing the right mix until the individual figures out the time management formula that works best for them. Knowing how and when you are most productive is crucial. College students are just learning to figure this out, as professionals, we should already know how to best structure our days and work accordingly.

Measurement: What milestones must be met to ensure success? Measurement and reporting provide transparency, and keep us focused and accountable. We are less inclined to jam our days with calls or unnecessary meetings when deadlines are looming. Few like burning the midnight oil to complete an assignment and even fewer can sustain working last minute for the long term.

Reward: How do I reward myself and others? Recognition and reward that compensates teams, or super star performance by individuals, communicates that you value your employees. Recognizing value has a profound impact on the productivity of individuals and teams.

Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: What’s your best advice for staying productive at work?

9 things you can do every day to be more productive by Ryan Harwood, CEO of PureWow.

How managers are killing the productivity of their employees by Todd McKinnon, co-founder and CEO of Okta.

Warby Parker’s Co-CEO: Why it’s okay to say ‘no’ to your boss by Dave Gilboa, co-CEO of Warby Parker.

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