Thursday, May 19, 2016

Productivity Optimization: How you can lower your standards!

By Virginia Mburu

It is early Monday Morning…….

 Mwakazi, Pendo and the children - Jabali and Waridi are ready to start the day. The parents take the children to school and continue discussing the procrastination bug  (refer to previous article here).

“I need to sort out a few frogs in the office”, Mwakazi reckons. “Same here” responds Pendo. They have arrived at her workplace and Pendo alights.

Mwakazi gets to work early as usual. He catches up on news from his favorite paper. An interesting article on the cover page “Baba while you were away……….”  

He briefly scans the other pages and moves to the properties section. He takes some time in this section noting new developments and contacts that are important to his business- Makao Interior Designers.

Meet the team
He gets ready for a ten o’clock project team meeting to be held in an hour. In his team is Juhudi, Kutenda, Furaha, Zawadi and Kusema. Some have been with his company for long while some were recruited recently as the business grew.

He gets to the meeting room on time. Only Juhudi and Kutenda are in attendance.  After the usual pleasantries, he asks about the whereabouts of Furaha, Zawadi and Kusema.  Kutenda remarks that they should be arriving anytime.

Two minutes later Furaha and Zawadi walk in profusely apologizing for being late........

“Let’s get started. Before we get on to today’s agenda I have a story”, Mwakazi says. He goes on to narrate the “another day with the frog story”. He asks each of the employees to identify the frogs that are plaguing their work.

Late comer
As this exercise is going on, Kusema walks in panting.  “I’m sorry Sir, I had dashed out to pay  electricity bills. I got a call that the disconnection crew is at home”. Mwakazi tells him to sit.  “Let me reiterate this for the last time, our meetings start as indicated in the circulated agendas. See me after the meeting”.

The next agenda is on how to handle the new contract- the new apartments on Kona Drive. They start discussing how they have done similar projects in the past.

Kutenda, the last recruit who joined them five months ago also adds on what used to be done in the last place he worked. They ultimately come up with the strategies, action plans, deadlines, performance measures, responsibilities etc.

Mwakazi reminds the team that lateness will not be entertained and reminds Kusema to see him after the meeting. By the end of  meeting, it is a few minutes to one and they break for lunch.

Plain plan
Juhudi- the team leader circulates the Kona Drive Apartments design plan the following morning. Mwakazi does not quite like the plan. It is so, so plain. The usual plan with only minor changes. Nothing exciting!  “If I do not like it, what will the customer think? Something has to change- Fast”, He says to himself.

Mwakazi is a member of   Interior Design Business Owners Association. The association organizes networking events and they have a meeting after lunch today. They have invited a business growth coach and  he is looking forward to listening to what the coach has to offer. He actually arrived earlier to take a front seat. 

“Good afternoon! Today, we look at how you can lower your standards”. The coach said to everyone’s surprise.  Now he had the attention of everyone in the room. “Yes, you can lower your standards and it does not take effort to do so".

Mediocre product
How often do you or your team members keep saying “this is the way we do it” How often do you hear a person who was working elsewhere say,   “this is how we used to do it”. What is likely to be result of this kind of conversation- A standard non-exciting or even mediocre product!

Is it any wonder that you lose that contract to your competitor? Let’s hear from the audience how we can change this sad scenario”

A number of hands were raised and as   the members contributed to the debate, Mwakazi’s mind drifted to the discussions in yesterday’s meeting and the resulting plan on his desk. No wonder he had his misgivings on the plan!

  • What can he do to come up with a better plan? 
  •  What kind of thinking should his team adopt?

Over to you Passionate Entrepreneur-Please assist Mwakazi by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below

Whatever you do, make sure it results in less work, more money and positive impact.


Virginia Mburu
Passionate Entrepreneurs Coach
Virginia empowers and motivates Passionate Entrepreneurs to realize their purpose and pursue it. She then assists the entrepreneurs to clarify, prioritise and focus on management and marketing strategies and action plans that will get them to work less, make more money and positively impact within one year.  Download some of her gifts- absolutely free lessons on

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