PROFITABLE productivity can be defined as “the act of efficiently completing a workload that effectively contributes more to revenue results than the cost of production”.

Simply, it means to make more money by getting more done in less time.

That is something everyone would be interested in. Now I’m imagining you saying a phrase that I often hear in Singapore: “So how?”

I will share with you detailed case studies of how I worked with leading businesses in Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and across Asia to increase their staff productivity by over 20 per cent, their customer service level measures by over 70 per cent and decrease their staff absenteeism by over 33 per cent.

Let us break down the definition of profitable productivity.

Productivity is workload completed per unit of time. The more work you get done in the same unit of time, the more productive you are. Profitability is simply producing more revenue than expenses.

To combine the two implies effectiveness; the output of your effort is contributing directly to the attainment of a goal and, more specifically, to a goal that is profitable.

My question: Which of these are you currently not doing well?

If you are not achieving the results, then there is something that you are not doing.

Often, there is an underlying reason why you are not doing it, even though you may know what you should be doing.

First, let’s go back to financial results.

Why is there a focus on profitability? Am I only concerned about money? No. Money is simply a common measurement that expresses a measure of value exchanged. If you provide something that is valued more than a sum of money, then someone will exchange that sum of money for the item of value that you provide.

Of course, that person needs to know that you have that something (advertising) and it needs to be what they want or need (marketing) and you need to be able to produce it (production), sell it (sales) and supply it (fulfilment). And of course your target market will need to be able to pay for it (pricing).

The more value you provide to each of these areas, the greater your profitability. The faster your provision of these items, the greater your profitable productivity.

That is why chasing the money usually gets you nowhere, but chasing value delivery usually produces the financial gains.

So when you consider profitable productivity, the main question you are looking to ask is: “How can I produce more items of value which I can exchange for money in less time?”

The key word is value. If what you do is not valuable to someone, then they will not exchange money with you for it.

And if they give you $100 for it and it cost you $200 to produce it, you have not made a profit. Either you have sold it too cheaply, or you made it too inefficiently.

If you sell an item for $100, it means the buyer valued it as being worth more than $100. This is important to understand. No one will think: “Hmm, that’s worth $100, I will pay $200.”

Similarly, if you are working in a job for $100 an hour, it means your boss values your time and ability as being worth more than $100 an hour. In fact, it means that your boss values your time and ability more than you do.

The bottom line is: you must produce more items of value to increase profitability. And because you only have 24 hours in a day, you must do it efficiently.

So what’s the bridge between strategy and execution? It’s psychology. In particular, it is how you employ your ego defence mechanisms, pain-avoidance strategies and your needs-fulfilment strategies. It is how you have programmed your awareness filter in your brain and, fundamentally, your motive for action — your motivation.

In Part 2 next week, learn how you and your team can increase your profitable productivity.