At its most basic, productivity is the amount of value produced divided by the amount of cost (or time) required to do so. And while this equation seems simple enough on the surface, the strategies for optimizing it have evolved dramatically over the last two decades.
Technology has enabled massive personal productivity gains — computers, spreadsheets, email, and other advances have made it possible for a knowledge worker to seemingly produce more in a day then was previously possible in a year. It’s tempting to conclude that, if individuals are able to perform their work much better and faster, overall productivity must be soaring.
And yet there’s a problem... U.S. government data suggests overall labor productivity has only grown 1-2% per year during the tech boom. With trillions invested during this time period, that’s a hard number to reconcile.
It turns out that enterprise productivity is different than just the sum of personal productivity. This difference matters. A lot.
To be clear, individual productivity is often a worthy goal. But leaders also need to stop thinking about productivity at an individual — or even team — level. It’s time to start shifting to an organizational mindset and set of tools that can provide full visibility into what work is actually getting done in aggregate, and where it does (or doesn’t) create value, however you define it.