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Silvan Becker
By Silvan Becker
5 years ago | comments

Boost the productivity of your knowledge workers

Blog post | Leadership styles Boost the productivity of your knowledge workers

Are you doing already all that you can do to improve the productivity of your knowledge workers? Knowledge workers are a very amorpheus group. They can be scientists, sales people, consultants or lawyers. At the same time, the way they work is not that different.

The problem?

What they have all in common is that their work breaks down into two big parts.

  • Processing data and information
  • Interacting with others

Ask them what keeps their productivity down, and they tell you about:

  • Information overload (e.g. emails, documents)
  • Unnecessary long meetings
  • Lack of the right data and information
  • Lack of decision making by others

What is the solution?

Peter Drucker describes six major factors determining knowledge worker productivity.

  1. Knowledge worker productivity demands that we ask the question: “What is the task?”
  2. It demands that we impose the responsibility for their productivity on the individual knowledge workers themselves.
  3. Continuing innovation has to be part of the work, the task and the responsibility of knowledge workers.
  4. Knowledge work requires continuous learning on the part of the knowledge worker
  5. Productivity of the knowledge worker is not a matter of the quantity of output. Quality is at least as important.
  6. Finally, knowledge worker productivity requires that the knowledge worker is both seen and treated as an ‘asset‘ rather than a ‘cost’.

He also adds that to be successful, the knowledge work must be focused as part of a system, on the needs of the customer and business strategy.

Drucker points out that many knowledge workers have many activities beyond their core task which take up their time and remove their concentration, thereby impacting productivity. He strongly advocates concentration of focus, with other tasks minimised or delegated.

Final

Drucker’s final contribution in the field of knowledge worker productivity is his insistence that knowledge workers need to learn to manage themselves.

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