How much work do you do to support the work you do? Like trying to make one photocopy. You wait for the photocopier to warm up; you replace toner; you reload paper; you clear paper jams; all you wanted to do was make a copy.

(In this rough draft concept video, Daniel J. Pfeifer summarizes the ideas below.)

brown bullet YourProductive MARGIN

The steps in the photocopy example have analogies in all of our other daily activities from sending e-mail to writing a piece of code. In addition, we generally work in teams to do larger production projects, introducing another axis of complexity and potential obstacles depending on the effectiveness of the team members' communication skills.

Your production margin can be impacted by a number of factors, but I have identified four negative factors in particular that we need to address.

  • The first factor of production paralysis is ignorance. The question here is whether a formal training initiative is worthwhile or whether an informal effort will address the situation.
  • The second factor is fear. While rejecting fear may work at an amusement park, in business it is better to make sure that you have all of the data you need to make the decision and where data is not available, incremental steps can help move things forward while mitigating risk. Regardless, we do have to face our fear.
  • The third factor is frustration. This one often infects and paralyzes teams and requires the leader to work quickly and carefully to help each member value their own and one another's strengths and acknowledge weaknesses. Settling disagreements is a developed skill, and there is no one size solution. I don't favor equitable solutions, because I often think there is a right way and a wrong way to do things, but I also have no problem saying, "I'm wrong. You're way is better!"
  • The fourth factor is exhaustion. Get some rest. (I rule out apathy as a negative factor since apathetic employees cannot be managed and should be "encouraged" to find a job they care more about.)

During the past few years, much of production work that I have done has been a combination of hands-on and team leadership. I take very seriously the management of the production environment both for myself and for my teams setting goals and providing a strategy that mitigates or eliminates the four factors of production paralysis.

Continue to Your Strategic Margin.
DJP Daniel J. Pfeifer, CreativeMargin, LLC 
Sachse, TX •