Want to Increase Your Teams’ Productivity? Sing “Happy Birthday!” (August 2016)

A colleague of mine once asked me what did I do to keep my department and division highly motivated, effective, and a high yield of productivity. Given that in the past, I managed sizeable divisions ranging from 20 to 50 professionals, directs, deans, administrators, and graduate students, it was important to me generate both familiarity with one another as well and to promote a positive and supportive atmosphere. That becomes key when the work becomes more challenging than the normal everyday!

When I was the executive director of Multicultural Student Services, my great colleague and Women Services director, Lisa Montgomery and I decided that we would make it our ‘business’ to recommend each and everyone staff or ‘team’ members birthday; individually, not as one lump sum. We would roll out the red carpet each time: birthday cake, cards, music, invite extended team members in other departments, clients and/or students who work directly with that staffer, family members when we could, and take pictures. It would take all of 1 hour of off hours planning, 15 to 20 minutes of implementation, an approximate $50 in budget for food, utensils, birthday card (with everyone’s signature), and when possible, a small token of appreciation.

Given the above described efforts, each and every time, the team felt like a true team; an office ‘family.’ From this small effort, I found that the team would work hard each and every time until a project was completed, a quality service was provided, and an office team / pride was created! We become a department and team that was well know across campus for being reliable, dependable, effective, and admired.

So in the end, what would I advise to a manager to increase productivity? It’s simple. The secret is to simply care about the individuals you work with. Yes, I threw them a party each time. I encourage you to find your niche activity and do the same!

I welcome your feedback and encourage your dialogue. Share your success tips to fostering productivity within your teams!
The Motivated Administrator

Kevin G Davis-Smith

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