How can we tell we are productive…or not ?

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According to me it’s really a key issue for the future of organization, call it 2.0 or whatever you want. I’m not talking about the need for productivity but about what productivity is and how we can measure it and say someone is productive or not.

When I was young it was a typical excercise in maths classes : “and at the end can you tell us how many pieces the machine will have produced”. Ok, the purpose was to teach us multiplication and division. A few years later we were old enough to be taught it only worked in a system without interdependance and variability.

But the exercise was always the same and was about a machine or a person doing a repetitive, well known, invariable task. And most of time it was a task in a manufucturing process which made possible to identifiy a product and give it a monetary value.

Today, people’s productivity a key issue and everybody has nothing but this word in mouth. But we have to admit that, beyond the words, the definition of this Holy Graal is very vague. Everybody wants to be productive, wants other people to be productive. But none can can tell clearly what it means nor how the can measure it in order to objectivize what’s nothing more than an impression.

So I’d like to know how you determine your own productivity and as well as your team’s. Time of presence ? Of active presence ? Number of achieved tasks (repetitive or variable tasks ?) ? Created value ? Do you find what you use satisfying or do you think it’s only better than what’s worse, a kind of stopgap.

All your feedbacks are welcome…and feel free to ask you friend to answer. The more information we’ll get the more exhaustive our reflection will be.

PS : For french speaking people, there’s already a few relevant answers on my french blog.

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Head of Employee and Client Experience @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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