Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to work they go. But honestly, it’s a wonder Snow White’s seven dwarfs ever get anything done at all. Together they represent clear-cut examples of some of the biggest workplace productivity killers. And, even though they spend their days deep inside a mine, the lessons they teach us about some key workplace behaviors to watch out for translate well to the office.
Take Sneezy, for example. Nothing kills productivity like trying to work when you’re under the weather. You’re tired and achy, and it’s nearly impossible to focus on anything but the steadily growing mountain of tissue in the trashcan. Sneezy needs to be at home and in bed with a bowl of chicken noodle soup. A couple days of rest will heal the body much more quickly than trying to power through an illness at work. And, other employees won’t have to worry about germs being spread around the office.
Sleepy, on the other hand, obviously feels tired and overworked from all the late nights and double shifts he’s been pulling. Long hours, day-in and day-out can take a toll on anyone – especially when you’re a 3-foot-tall miner. Everyone has a breaking point and will eventually need some downtime to recharge. It’s hard to give 110% everyday when the body is running on empty.
Then there’s Dopey. What can we say about Dopey? He has the best of intentions and truly wants to do a good job. Unfortunately he has no clue what’s going on. Dopey lacks the training and experience necessary to do his job and is constantly falling behind and holding up progress. When team members get in over their heads, it’s important to take notice. The fix could be as simple as suggesting an employee take a couple extra training classes on the weekend or as severe as replacing them completely.
Next, there’s Doc, the know-it-all, self-appointed leader. He likes to hear himself talk and probably assumes everyone else does too. And, while he is a strong employee and shows potential for leadership down the road, his authoritative personality can be overbearing on team projects. Everyone’s input is valuable, and though it is important to have someone who can lead a team, it’s also important to be sure everyone has an opportunity to offer their two cents and feels that their ideas will be considered.
Everyone likes Happy. And, why wouldn’t you? He’s a great guy. Always telling jokes and sharing stories in the break room, at a co-worker’s desk, or out front at the reception area. And, he always has the best e-mail forwards. But, when exactly does he do any work? Everyone loves the office clown, but when it’s time to roll up the sleeves and get some serious work done, it’s important to have full commitment from every member of the team. Productivity suffers when you’re constantly forced to refocus an overly social teammate.
Bashful, however, has it all figured out. He has big ideas that could really impact the way the company operates. He sees what the others miss and knows exactly what needs to happen to keep projects on track. And, if he wasn’t so afraid to speak up during planning meetings, he could really make a significant impact on business. Don’t keep great ideas bottled up. Be confident and speak up. And, if an idea gets shot down by the rest of the group, don’t fret. Bad ideas often times serve as inspiration for good ones.
And finally, there’s Grumpy. He’s been doing the same job for years. He has a system that works and sees no need to make any adjustments. So, when new co-workers come in with bright ideas, he’s quick to dismiss them without a moment of consideration. While there is value in maintaining consistency in your processes, change is good and it’s inevitable for any successful business. When team members who are set in their ways are unwilling to try a new approach, productivity often falls apart.
When you look at it on paper, the seven dwarfs are a productivity nightmare, but somehow they make it work. And that’s the important part. They know each other’s inefficiencies and are able to adapt their strengths and weaknesses to build the strongest team possible. So, remember to keep an eye out for productivity killers in your workplace, and when they come up don’t hesitate to address them.