At the global business improvement firm, BI Worldwide, it was learned many years ago that there are three critical aspects to driving increased individual productivity: Goal setting, Emotional commitment, and Focus.
Over the course of 500+ unique research projects, with over 400,000 willing subjects, it was determined that specific techniques to combine all three of the above characteristics in a measurable (and patented) approach will yield growth of over 20% in KPIs.
Much has been written about the role of goal setting, and the fact that human beings are far more likely to attain goals that they set for themselves (rather than objectives established for them by others). Emotional engagement, or commitment, is a very “hot” topic among organizational development folks and strategic consultancies. As such, there is a growing body of work on the trigger role that emotions play in directing individual behavior.
Focus, the third element in the triad of behavioral drivers, has gotten less, well, focus. A recent article in Harvard Business Review speaks to the connection between satisfaction and focus. We tend to devote maximum focus to those things that satisfy three criteria: (1) we are good at them (i.e., we have the ability to perform the task at hand), (2) we enjoy what we are doing (i.e., we have the innate desire to perform, because it provides us personal satisfaction or validation), and (3) what adds value to the world (i.e., what we are rewarded for doing or that which produces a measurable gain aligned with our beliefs and values).
The author posits that creating an environment that encourages focus is fundamental to elevating individual performance, and is essential to providing for happiness and satisfaction. His basis is largely psychological in nature, and the data that BI has established supports his theory fully.
So what comes first, satisfaction or productivity? My belief is that they are synergistic, making it unlikely to possess one without the other. I’d love to know where you stand on the subject as well.