Increasing Productivity: A Winnable Challenge

Wes Friesen  is the manager of Revenue Collection & Community Offices for Portland General Electric.
To boost the productivity of your in-plant team, consider these seven factors.

4. Quality. Improving the quality of work outputs can lead to better productivity. Why? It’s cheaper and more efficient to do the work correctly the first time and avoid re-work. John Wooden’s quote “Be quick but don’t hurry” is applicable. Also, by instilling a quality mindset I have found the teams take more pride in their work and become more engaged and productive.

5. Management. Being a better servant leader and showing more care for your team members will pay dividends. Collaboratively developing a shared vision and challenging yet achievable goals will help inspire your team to higher levels of performance. Solicit ideas for improved productivity from your team members. They will feel respected, and you will glean some great ideas along the way.

6. Motivation of workers. Providing positive recognition and showing more care for your employees will lead to a higher morale, higher motivation and higher productivity. I agree with Tom Peters who said “The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.” Remember to measure productivity and celebrate improvements along the way. Celebrating progress builds a sense of achievement and a desire to keep getting better.

7. Skills/expertise of team members. The ongoing training and development of your team members is key to enhancing productivity. A few ideas include holding team meetings for training, cross-training your staff, participating in trade associations, sending people to conferences/seminars, university courses, mentoring—the list goes on.

Let me share a final tip to improve the productivity of your team. Paul Gauguin wisely said “Stressing output is the key to improving productivity, while looking to increase activity can result in just the opposite.” Focusing on effectively and efficiently producing output, while minimizing resources used, will result in increased productivity. IPG

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Wes Friesen is the manager of Billing, Credit and Special Attention Operations for Portland General Electric. He manages CIS billing, specialized billing, electronic bills and payments, credit and collections and OPUC and special attention operations. Wes and the PGE print and mail team have earned many national awards, such as the IPMA Management Award, four NAPL Gold Awards and numerous PCC awards. Wes received the Franklin Award in 2010 for his contributions to the mail industry. For the past 27 years Wes has been a university instructor and a speaker at conferences. He has written numerous articles for trade journals. Wes earned a B.S. in Business Administration from George Fox University and an MBA from the University of Portland. He can be contacted at:

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