Most of us know that you need the right tool for the right job. We know it is easier to get a screw in the wall with a screwdriver than a hammer. Even though a hammer may work, it won't be easy or pretty. However, in organizations we often tend to ignore this advice. We blame our employees for poor performance when in reality the issue is with the toolkit we have provided.
What are the problems with our current toolkits?
Big budget businesses with all the latest and greatest tools, may have so many tools that their employees loose focus jumping from one tool to the other. For example, if employees have both a Slack channel and Microsoft Teams for communication, employees lose time as they jump from tool to tool, sometimes just looking for which tool they needed for the job. Or perhaps the business has tools that are so complicated that employees don't understand how to use them properly. Or maybe there are several tools which have overlapping functions and different employees use different tools for the same tasks.
Low budget organizations may think they can't afford to upgrade their tools, but they are loosing untold manhours as employees use ineffective tools. It may be cheaper to invest in the right tools so that employees increase their productivity.
In both cases, problems with tools available to the employees causes lost time and productivity.
Why do leaders need to analyze their toolkits?
As leaders, we need to always be asking why our employees aren't performing in the way they should. We should always start with what is happening in the work environment which can hinder performance, and the first step is to review your toolkit. By having fewer and more precise tools, employees will be more focused and will use the tools more efficiently. As employees use tools which are designed for the task at hand, their productivity will increase.
Finally, you want to have most of your people using the same tools
3 steps to cleaning up your toolkit
Step One: Evaluate Your Kit
Find out from your employees what tools they find useful and which are causing them problems. You can make this as formal or informal as you want. Start by simply asking the questions. It can be in one-on-one meetings, surveys, staff meetings, or it could be a detailed data analysis by your IT department.
Step Two: Clean up your kit
Get rid of tools that your employees aren't using or are struggling with. Either streamline with what you have, or find a more effective tool. The goal is to have fewer tools, but the ones that are most aligned with the tasks you want to achieve.
Step Three: Train your Employees
Only after fixing these environmental issues should you turn to training. Your people need to know a) what the tools are available and b) what the tools can do. For best effect, try dribbling in micro learning on a weekly or even daily basis.
Start by taking inventory of the tools you have available, then in conversations through your week, simply ask people which tools they use/don't use.
Visit Lindow Learning to read about more tips on improving your team's performance or for help in growing better humans and improving the impact of your organization's mission.