Seth Godin teaches about the “Productivity Pyramid“. Productivity is a measure of output over time. All other things being equal, the more you produce per minute, the more productive you are. And we tend to get promoted when we are more productive.
- The simplest way to boost productivity is to get better at the task that has been assigned to us. We work harder and/or with more skill.
- The next step up is to find people who can accomplish my assigned tasks faster and cheaper than I can. The theory of the firm is that people working together can get more done, faster.
- The next step up is to invest in existing technology which boosts your team’s output. Buying a copier will significantly increase your output if you’re used to printing documents one at a time.
- The step after that? Invent a new technology. Huge leaps in value creation come to those that find the next innovation.
- The final step, the one that that eludes so many of us: Figure out better things to work on. Make your own list, don’t merely react to someone else.
It turns out that the most productive thing we can do is to stop working on someone else’s task list and figure out a more useful contribution instead. This is what separates great organizations from good ones, and extraordinary careers from frustrated ones.
The challenge is that the final step requires a short-term hit to our productivity. That is a very difficult decision to make…because it involves fear and risk.
What is keeping you from giving yourself a promotion today?
Thanks for listening.