At Defy Expectations we have a mantra about productivity. It sounds very simple: “Get the right people in the right places doing the right things at the right time”. As with all things that sound simple it’s not so easy to do. When we work with companies we start with their strategic objectives – what is the end point? We then work from strategy to a skill and competency analysis (the right people); then review the effectiveness of the organisation (the right places). That creates a framework for hiring and development across the organisation and allows for the most effective structure to be put in place. Probably the most difficult step is to define the right things. Organisations generally are trying to do too much. Old strategies are replaced by new but somehow the old projects remain. Going back to the strategy and agreeing on the small number of really important things that need to be done to deliver it can lead to the ending of many projects that are taking time and effort. What are the two or three things that will move the dial? What are the systems and processes that will support them? If everyone is working towards achieving the two or three critical objectives then the organisation will run more smoothly, people will be more motivated and things will be done at the right time.