In business, or when you initiate a project, you have a choice. You are either solving a problem, or you are building for a future benefit. Often people talk about the difference as offering ‘painkillers’ or ‘vitamins.’
Your project or business might offer your customers an increase in efficiency. Increase in productivity is a vitamin. The concept of increasing efficiency sounds good, but it isn’t very compelling.
There are a couple of problems with saying that you are going to increase efficiency. They are:
- Most employees don’t walk into the office saying they are going to increase efficiency. They have a job to do: maybe its data entry, perhaps its strategy, maybe it is running the company. But increasing productivity isn’t on the roster; it’s not a task that you can check off.
- If people could improve their efficiency, they would. If you say that people need to increase efficiency, you are saying that they are intentionally slow and opposed to improvement. Intentional feet-dragging isn’t the case (in 99% of the cases.) In most cases, people are working as hard and as fast as they can. Few people are trying to be slow.
Instead of saying that you are going to increase efficiency, you can focus on the specific pain that you are going to address. For data entry staff, take away the pain of repetitive data entry across systems. For someone responsible for strategy, take away the pain of continually having to craft communication to the organization.
Focus on the painkillers. Remove the pain points that are slowing people down, and you will find that as a by-product you have ‘increased efficiency.’