8 ways to improve your work performance
The world is full of self-help, some good, some bad. In business the trick is to cut through the noise and focus on what is really important. According to Jason Fried and David Heinemeier - authors of ReWork: Change the way you work forever - the below steps are a good place to start:
Send people home at 5pm
The dream employee for a lot of companies is a twentysomething with as little of a life as possible outside of work; someone who'll be fine working fourteen-hour days and sleeping under their desk. But packing a room full of these burn-the-midnight-oil types isn't as great as it seems. It lets you get away with lousy execution. You don't need more hours; you need better hours. When people have something to do at home, they get down to business. They get their work done at the office because they have somewhere else to be.
There are four-letter words you should never use in business. They are not **** and ****, they are: Need, Must, Can't, Just, Only and Fast. These words get in the way of healthy communication. They are red flags that introduce animosity, torpedo good discussions and cause project to be late.
"I don't have enough time/money/people/experience." Stop whining. Less is a good thing. Constraints are advantages in disguise. Limited resources force you to make do with what you've got. There's no room for waste. And that forces you to be creative. Ever seen the weapons prisoners make out of soap or a spoon? They make do with what they've got. Now we're not saying you should go out and shank somebody - but get creative and you'll be amazed at what you can make with just a little.
Who cares what they're doing?
In the end, it's not worth paying much attention to the competition anyway. Why not? Because worrying about them quickly turns into an obsession. What are they doing right now? Where are they going next? How should we react? Don't ask yourself whether you are 'beating' Apple (or whoever the big boy in your industry is), that's the wrong question to ask. It's not a win-or-lose battle. Ask if you are providing a better service or value to your clients. Their profits and costs are theirs, yours are yours.
Dealers get it right
Contraband dealers across the world are astute business people. They understand what their product can do, so they're willing to give a little away for free upfront. They know you'll be back for more - with money. Use this theory. Make your product so addictive, so 'can't miss' that giving customers a small free taste makes them come back with cash in hand.
ASAP is poison
Stop saying ASAP. We get it. It's implied. Everyone wants things done as soon as they can be done. When you turn into one of those people who add ASAP to the end of every request, you're saying that everything is high priority. And when everything is high priority, then nothing is.
Throw less at the problem
What Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and you'll see a pattern. The menus at failing restaurants offer too many dishes. The owners think making every dish under the sun will broaden the appeal of the restaurant. Instead it makes for rubbish food. That's why Ramsay's first step is nearly always to trim down the menu, usually from thirty-plus dishes to around ten. Think about that. Improving the current menu doesn't come first, trimming it down does. Then he polishes what is left.
Say no by default
It's so easy to say yes. Yes to yet another feature, yes to a mediocre design. Soon, the stack of things you've said yes to grows so tall you can't even see the things you should really be doing. Use the power of no to get your priorities straight. You rarely regret saying no. But you often wind up regretting saying yes.