Linen and Productivity
How do you fold your towels?
Is your way the right way?
Is the way you fold towels the most productive? …
Productive Leadership Tips:
🔹 Focus on the end goal – there’s a difference between problem identification and solution suggestion.
🔹 When you know the desired outcome (the real desired outcomes), engage others in how to get there so they can contribute, be a part of the solution and the win, and feel valued and validated.
🔹 By inviting others in to suggest how – you might be surprised at how clever, creative, innovative and engaged your people can be!
🔹 Ask yourself if your way is truly the most productive way or could there be other options.
I’d love to know your thoughts …
So how important is it to you that the linen gets washed, put out on the line or put in the dryer, taken off the line, taken out of the dryer, folded up and put away? Or HOW it’s folded up and put away? So for the last couple of workshops around productivity that I’ve run, this issue has come up, and I like to challenge some thinking around the importance of the job getting done or how the job gets done. Now, I think there’s importance laid in both those areas. Of course you want to get the job done and of course there’s some rational thinking around how the job is done. You want the linen to fit into the cupboard and, you know, sometimes there’s a bit of a marital issue around the partners arguing about whose way is the better way to fold a towel or fold the sheets. Now, it’s usually towels, actually. So here’s the thinking that I think could help save marriages, maybe, but I think it could also apply in the workplace. If the end goal is to have the linen clean and folded and put away and have it put away in a manner that is not overusing the space provided, you want to maximise the amount of space that you have in your linen cupboard, then that’s the end goal, and I think that’s where you start your conversation from. So often, we think the way WE fold something is the ONLY, number one, right way to do it, when in actual fact, if we step back from it and give ourselves a little perspective, we will see that there’s probably more than one way to fold a towel. And we know that, but we get frustrated and it’s not done quickly enough or it’s not done my way or, you know, can’t you just see you’re wasting space in the cupboard? And so that means our emotions go up and our logic goes down. So start with the true end in mind, as Stephen Covey says in his ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, you know, what’s the end goal here? The end goal really should be that the linen’s put away and it’s put away in such a fashion that it creates as much space as possible for other stuff to get put away. So maybe you start with that and say, okay, if that’s the end goal, let’s play. Let’s have some fun with this. What is the best way to fold a towel that we can both agree on? And so what that does is it de-personalises it for you and it actually invites thinking, it invites contribution, it validates the other person, actually participating in how this whole project should end and should result in. You know, if someone’s telling you how to do something, especially something as menial as a household chore or a menial task at work, and someone’s telling you how to do it when they’re smart enough to work it out for themselves or they’ve been doing it for a long time, it can kind of grate a little bit. So what’s the real end goal? I think when you can name that, when you can identify it and name it and share that and then invite some options, and we let go of the how and invite everyone in to actually contribute to the how, you’re going to find an increase in engagement, you’re going to find a faster, more efficient result, because people will have participated and they own it, and therefore, your productivity should go up. I’d love to know your thoughts on this, but please don’t tell me how to fold a towel. Bye for now.