How do you increase the team’s engagement and productivity?

Mary Bui-Pham / November, 2017


Mary Bui-Pham, VP of Operations & Chief of Staff at Yahoo’s Publisher Products explain how people in general don’t go to work to suck that day and talk about how to increase your team’s productivity.

Video Transcript

How do you increase the team’s engagement and productivity?

Team’s productivity is almost like the holy grail for a lot of companies, and again it’s about people. If you have a team that’s not performing it is probably not because of bad intention. We don’t come to work saying we’re going to suck today. Nobody does that. We all intend to do good, but if we don’t perform, we have to really be honest, and understand why? Are the goals wrong? Or did we not set enough aggressive goals? Or are there mitigating circumstances that prevent the team from performing.

Sometimes there are misalignments. If there are a lot of interdependencies between the teams, and the other teams don’t have the same goals as your team and your team depends on them, chances are nothing is going to happen. That’s why a lot of the goal setting and a lot of the goal planning, and alignment of goals with all the depending teams are very important. Make sure that everybody nods their heads and agree that “Yes we’re going to this, we’re going to do it this quarter, and we’re all committed to this deliverable and the delivery date.” I think that assuming the positive intent is key in every situation, particularly when things don’t go well.

It’s very easy to point fingers and assume that people are just bad, but in most cases, people are not bad. There is something that is preventing them. As a leader, you have to work to identify them and remove them. Sometimes we have very challenging macro conditions. At Yahoo, there is a lot of distraction external to the company. As leaders, we can’t control the macro environment, but what we can do is to make the team engage locally.

Sometimes we make a few group activities where you can think “Really, does it matter?” We get the teams together to build that community, sometimes they learn calligraphy together or sometimes they read a book and talk about that, they have their own little book club. I did a succulent terrarium planting and it was a wild success. These little things that cost nothing except the effort and the care to come up with it gives the team the group hug they need.



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