Have you ever caught yourself thinking what you just did or are doing was counterproductive?
Counterproductivity can rob you of your time, your professional development, your business growth, your leadership credibility. It’s the invisible enemy.Being counterproductive happens when you’re doing something that defeats the purpose of what you want or need to do.
As an example, from a personal perspective, it would be counterproductive if you:
- Want to lose weight but constantly eat junk food and don’t exercise.
- Want to get a degree in business but don’t go to class or study.
- Go to the post office to buy stamps when you’re in a hurry.
- Become too busy creating a living that you don’t enjoy your life.
- Order anchovies on pizza when your dining partner is allergic to anchovies.
From a business perspective, it would be counterproductive if you:
- Take the time to plan your day, but you don’t follow the plan.
- Conduct an employee engagement survey and do nothing with the results.
- Have slow-moving products that generate low margins in your inventory.
- Hire people to do a job but don’t take time training them to do that job.
- Attend a trade show to network with customers but spend your time on the phone.
Identify and eliminate at least one counterproductive activity in your business or your leadership.
To get started, take a few minutes to review your calendar over the past month or two. Identify what’s counterproductive—and eliminate each of them one by one. In my experience, if you find one counterproductive activity, you’ll find more.
To do this effectively, though, you must be brutally honest with yourself.
If you pay attention to this invisible enemy, you will be more productive, feel better about yourself, and reinforce your credibility as a leader.