Magic of Productivity – Cooperation

magic of productivityHave you ever wondered why many things are not being accomplished at your work place? Or have you wondered why your team’s productivity is not increasing but rather decreasing? Cooperation is the key ingredient for increasing productivity. But why is it so hard to encourage cooperation in the team environment?

Many organisations emphasize clarity, accountability and measurement as their key indicators when they talk about productivity. However, Yves Morieux says at his Ted talk, these indicators severely deter the productivity which can be increased and strengthened by cooperation in the team. He uses the example of a women’s relay race rather than using a math equation to give us a clear, visible understanding.

The French relay team with slower runners beat the U.S. team with faster runners due to their cooperation. The baton carriers are slower but the baton is carried faster. Cooperation is not a philosophy but math, which can create a miracle by multiplied energy and intelligence with human effort.

Let’s see how clarity, accountability and measurement can derail human cooperation.

Clarity versus fuzziness: Do you need clarity for your work or overlapping fuzziness?

In a relay, if you say the first runner needs to run 97 meters and pass the baton to the second runner, she will drop the baton at the 97 meter point whether the second runner is ready for her or not, because she clearly only needs to run 97 meters. In that case, the team cannot win the race.

Accountability: Are you focusing on who to blame in the case of failing or for the team spirit?

Since passing the baton is so important in a relay race, you will set the accountability on passing the baton. Then you need to assign another person between the runners to make sure the baton is passed properly. In that way, the team will never win the race. The addition of complicated structures makes it easy to find who to blame in the case of a failure, but does not create an environment for success.

Measurement: Do you only focus on what you are measured in or help the team win?

If you measure the speed of the runners by only focusing on the energy of their legs, the runners will not put effort on the shouting voice to the next runner, or on the arm to pass the baton to at the right speed and right time. The baton will be dropped and the team will lose. No one is willing to sacrifice and enhance someone else’s performance if they are only measured in objective individual performances. When performance deteriorates and productivity decreases, you tend to blame people’s mindset, add more structures and justify the ineffectiveness. You need to look at the work environment instead and see whether it deters cooperation, which results in wasting human resources.

As leaders, you need to nurture the culture of cooperation within your organisation, because with cooperation you can do more with less.

If you are interested in developing cooperation in your organisation, please contact us.

Below is the link to  Yves Morieux’s Ted talk