There’s a limit to the level of productivity an individual can achieve, and that limit is dictated by the organisational effectiveness of the company they work in.

As a productivity coach, I work across organisations to help them develop productive cultures. So I know from experience that mindset and habit change happens at organisational, team and individual levels.

CEO decisions impact upon the productivity and happiness of all employees.  As such, it’s critical you identify management practices that are counterproductive.

1. Annual performance reviews

Annual reviews can be too formal and forced, and put a huge strain on the organisation with very little return on investment.

Effective feedback is provided in a more fluid and immediate way.  If your staff are waiting for development feedback every 12 months, then you’re in trouble.

Instead, encourage teams to set goals quarterly, that deliberately align daily activity with strategy.  Ensure there are regular check-ins between leaders and their employees to provide them with development, guidance and support.

2. Offices

Office design allows CEOs to offer a space for greater relationship building and learning opportunities, and to provide a clear message about organisational values.

These days, leaders are being encouraged to work in open plan layouts with dedicated spaces for collaboration.

Organisations such as Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and NAB all facilitate encourage hot-desking, which allows for relationships to develop across teams, and breaks down the usual silos created through proximity.

Progressive organisations encourage employees to work from home to allow them to work without interruptions so they can focus on high-value tasks.

3. Fixed and inflexible working arrangements

The employers who attract and retain the best talent are those that understand that excellence doesn’t necessarily occur by gluing someone to a seat between the hours of 8am and 6pm each day.  Effective employees can achieve the same results in 30 hours that others do in 40 hours when they take the time to think, plan and execute efficiently.

It’s also important to ensure that the flexible working arrangements promised by the CEO and HR are actually implemented by leaders, as some leaders still make it difficult for their team to enjoy flexi-work simply due to their own personal biases.

4. Forced ranking employees

There is nothing less motivating for an employee than receiving a ranking for their work which they perceive to be much lower than what they’ve earned.

In a forced ranking environment managers need to stand by the ratings given to their employees, even if they don’t believe in them and have trouble validating them.

This type of system impacts upon motivation across organisations. It leads to higher staff turnover after bonuses are paid, and lower productivity in the months following the communication of performance ratings and bonuses.

It also impact upon team cohesion and collaboration. For instance, if I know that my bonus can be driven down by my neighbour’s success, then I might be less likely to support them.

5. Unnecessary meetings

An easy way to understand the costs of meetings is to add up the salaries of each person in the room.  While this doesn’t take into account the opportunity cost of taking a high value employee away from revenue generating tasks, it does provide an indication of the impact that meetings have on the bottom line.

If we require our leaders to attend non-relevant meetings for two or more hours per day, we are disempowering them and impacting upon their success in the long run.

5 rules for productive meetings

CEOs can ensure the people in their organisation are only calling and attending productive meetings by implementing these five rules:

  1. Before calling a meeting or accepting a request ask, is a meeting really necessary?
  2. All meetings must have an agenda
  3. Meetings always start and finish on time
  4. Outcomes should be called for in the last ten minutes of a meeting
  5. Everyone puts aside 5-10 minutes after their meetings to action follow ups.