How I manage collaboration and create huge amounts of extra work time, ramping up productivity…

Originally published on linkedin Feb 19, 2019

Let me start this article by stating something…


Unrelated to one another, I sit on an executive team, serve on a board, consult, advise, mentor, invest and seed my own commercial ambitions, and those of others, with ideas, referrals, creative outputs and capital. Some of it for gain, some just to lend a hand. I absolutely love it…all of it!

But if you meet me or work with me, I won’t come across rushed or stressed. I’ll have a lot of time. How is it possible? I have often wondered myself. This is not new, I have always been able to operate in this way, and have succeeded pretty well by most measures doing so.

Let’s be clear here, I don’t work excessive hours. I am balanced. I have plenty of quality time available for the people I love, to take care of my body and my mind, and to socialize and travel.

It happened naturally, but recently I have given it more serious thought in attempt to distill what it is that allows me to work in this way. There are a few things that contribute, but the way I manage how I interact with the people I work with is the most important.

The following four behaviors resonate with me and the way I work, and have all been identified in organisational research to be effective at reducing excessive collaboration. They are pertinent to people leading large teams or entrepreneurs that are battling to find time to work on strategy or creative elements of their businesses.

  1. Work as much as possible on the things are critical to YOUR OWN success

This means you can easily identify things that need doing, but that should be delegated or outsourced. In organisational settings, this often has the added bonus of creating a development opportunity for others.

2. Avoid the tendency to always stay in the loop and you won’t get nagged

When you always want to be kept in the loop you send the subliminal signal to collaborators that they don’t have the required authority to make choices, and they will keep bugging you!

Work with good people, make your requirements clear and get out of their way!

3. Don’t be too eager to help

When you are always stepping in to help people out you end up becoming an easy outlet for problems. You become seen as the problem solver.

The biggest waste in life has to be the waste of potential. When you are always rushing in to save the day because you know how/best, you don’t get to the things that stretch you as a person, and you deny others the opportunity to grow.

Resist it! Let people make mistakes…

And finally,

4. Be strategic about the channel you use to communicate

  • Face to face is crucial when the stakes are high, and early on so that you can pickup signs of misunderstanding and build trust and rapport.
  • Email is great when you need to document decisions and consensus, to follow up discretely or for official notifications. It’s useless in an emergency.
  • Pick up the phone instead of writing a long explanation when you see signs of confusion in the digital realm. You get on the same page quickly and can move on.
  • Team collaboration apps (Slack etc.) allow for the perfect blend of project management rigour, individual flexibility and monitoring and oversight…use them!

Well, there you have it…my contribution to the work productivity realm.

It will be an adjustment to do some of these things, but when you get used to them you will notice that you are free to be productive, and so is everyone else you are working with.

It will be liberating….try it!

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