Productivity

Three Productivity Hacks That Helped My Company 10x Our Goals During the Pandemic – Newsweek

Summary

In the early days of 2020, my company was closing in on a major milestone. We had our eyes fixed squarely on European expansion with hopes to get a team in the field and products to market. But there was a major problem. We had chosen to start in northern Italy, and weeks before our planned launch, the region became the epicenter of the first major COVID-19 outbreak on the continent. Everything stopped in its tracks.

A goal that had been on the horizon from the beginning of our company …….

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In the early days of 2020, my company was closing in on a major milestone. We had our eyes fixed squarely on European expansion with hopes to get a team in the field and products to market. But there was a major problem. We had chosen to start in northern Italy, and weeks before our planned launch, the region became the epicenter of the first major COVID-19 outbreak on the continent. Everything stopped in its tracks.

A goal that had been on the horizon from the beginning of our company was no longer visible. It was the same story for most every business — carefully laid plans and long-term goals were swept aside as safety and security rose to the forefront. In the days and weeks to come, we were met with the “new normal” — working from home, unable to meet with customers in person, onboarding new employees over webcam.

Fast-forward 18 months and new COVID waves continue to shift back-to-work plans; supply chains remain unreliable; safety protocols are still evolving. Indeed, for so many businesses, the pandemic has translated to a crisis of focus: managing day-to-day realities and traumas has overshadowed the pursuit of bigger goals.

There are no easy answers here. But beyond fundamentals like embracing adaptability and resilience, I’ve found a few relatively simple strategies that helped keep us from getting derailed and keep expansion in our sights.

An ’80s Business Cliché That Kept us on Track

Business philosophies are a dime a dozen, but there’s one that we incorporated into our strategy and actually found extremely useful. It’s the rock, pebbles, sand approach to time management popularized by Stephen Covey in his 1989 book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The basic concept is that your big goals are rocks, smaller tasks are pebbles and everything else is sand. Now imagine fitting all that into a jar. If you start with the pebbles and sand, the rocks will never fit. Our rocks are our quarterly goals, which level up to annual goals, which add up to our 10-year goal: having data-gathering sensors monitoring 10 million acres of farmland.

This approach has been especially important in the last 18 months. Research has shown small tasks get overblown in this new working world, resulting in unnecessary meetings and lengthy distractions. If a problem has no direct relation to your rock goals, you know it’s just sand and it’s not worth significant time. It might be a cheesy concept, but it’s allowed us to be agile in achieving our goals — perhaps the most important thing a business can be during the pandemic.

When it became clear we weren’t going to be able to expand to Europe, we were able to see through the sand and find a new way to reach that goal. In our case, we turned our attention to adding acres by acquiring other companies.

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Confession: I hate repeating myself. Effective communication, however, often requires exactly …….

Source: https://www.newsweek.com/three-productivity-hacks-that-helped-my-company-10x-our-goals-during-pandemic-1642194