Fight Organizational Drag to unleash Your Team's Productive Power

May 17, 2018


Here's a not so fun statistic.

The average company loses more than 20% of its productive capacity — more than a day each week — to what's being called “organizational drag.” That's the structures and processes in place on your team that can consume valuable time and prevent them from getting things done.

What's an example of organizational drag? Meetings that tend to run WAY too long and involve too many people. Email chains and threads that quickly spiral out of control. Slack conversations that are impossible to follow and never seem to end.  And company projects that seem to drag on forever, even after it’s clear that progress is just not happening.

Most importantly, organizational drag impacts your team's time. According to Michael Mankins, founding father of organizational drag, "Most organizations don’t actually know where they invest their collective time...and as a result, that scarce resource, time, is often squandered unintentionally, or certainly not put to its highest value and best use."

On many teams time is being wasted simply looking for the information they need to get things done. Questions that sound as easy as 'Where is the latest template for X?' often takes a few emails, a phone call, a slack message and maybe a bit of shoulder tapping before you get to a viable answer.

That's because on many teams information is scattered all over the place: it's in cluttered inboxes, shared drives, scribbled in notebooks or still stuck in people's heads.

Without a central place to capture and store all of your team's information, your team runs the risk of falling prey to organizational drag.

How does this effect your team?

Organizational drag is basically ongoing workplace friction that adds time and effort to processes that should otherwise be improving over time. With organizational drag, a relatively simple question can take days before you find an answer. Issues go unresolved. Wheels are reinvented.

When information isn't easily accessible it can lead to all kinds of complications on your team:

  • Without the proper information, your organization can't respond as quickly to problems as they arise

  • Things don't get done right the first time, leading to your team growing frustrated with their inability to move projects forward

  • If your team isn't aware of how reoccurring or past issues were resolved, then they start reinventing the wheel 

  • Your team can't learn from their mistakes if they're never properly documented anywhere

  • Your team wastes alot of time trying to find the answers they need

  • Innovation is stunted when people aren't actively sharing knowledge

This is frustrating and demotivating for everyone involved, but it can be especially hard to watch as a manager when you’re one step removed from the action and struggling to figure out how best to advise your team.

How to stop organizational drag?

To maximize your team's productivity, communication and collaboration, you need to utilize more innovative tools. Fight back against organizational drag by capturing the Who, What, How, Why and When of all of your team's day-to-day work and projects in one place.

Ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • Is the work clearly defined and does everyone know who does what?

  • Can your team find what they need?

  • Does your team know what they need to know to get their jobs done?

  • Is your team actively sharing and exchanging information?

  • Is information scattered in multiple places on your team?

It's time you put all of your team's information in one place. Give your team faster access to the information they need, and enhance their ability to communicate. By giving your team a solution that will allow them to rapidly interact and exchange information, they can get back to doing work that matters.

Here are some examples of how you can accelerate your team using TipHive.

Team members can set and describe their work goals in one central place. That way all team members are made aware of the goals of not only the team, but also the individual team member. Simply ask team members to share weekly or monthly goals using Cards. The Goal view helps team members set goals at a task level and easily track their progress.

Defining a process doesn't have to be complicated. Using Cards, it's easy to quickly share a process with some steps, roles and definitions to clarify how something is done on the team. Ask the team for feedback to make sure everyone is on board, and keep improving as you go. As team members are executing the work, they can use labels to communicate in what step of the process the work is.

Assign work
The Assignment view shows what work is assigned to who.

Work specifications
You can define someone's job or work, without having to write a book about it. Start with identifying the main tasks, write it up in a Card and continue to work with the team to expand on the specifications.

Job knowledge and instructions
With the Wiki view, you can quickly create a knowledge base or tutorial for any job or topic. Share best practices and FAQ's, letting your team contribute their knowledge and easily organize the information.

Develop, share and explain templates to avoid redoing the work and improve quality with a standardized approach.

Organizational information
Gather answers to common questions in one place, so people don't waste time looking for it. How to submit an expense report? How to request time off? What's our policy for pension contributions? How to get paid? How to make a purchase? Answer those questions in TipHive and never worry about them again.

Status of work
Team leaders and members constantly want to know what the status of work is. Use labels to give status to work so everyone is always in the know. With the Kanban view you can create a workflow and move the work along the process.

The Timeline view lets you plan work with start and due dates. All team members can easily see by when a task or goal is expected to be ready or completed.

TipHive lets you do all of the above in one central place, to make it easy for team members to find, follow and collaborate. It's one central place that answers all of their questions and also lets them manage their work.

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