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6 Lessons For Entrepreneurs From Game Of Thrones

6 Lessons For Entrepreneurs From Game Of Thrones

Game of Thrones is coming to us with a 6th season, which is a great opportunity to review what we know about the series until now. And more important, what we learned from the series. While most people focus on the murders, I tried to go beyond them and analyze why each character did those outrageous things. And this is how I found Game of Thrones offers a lot of valuable lessons for entrepreneurs!

1. Do not owe anyone, anything

The famous line of the Lannisters is “A Lannister always pays his debts”, which is probably the most valuable tip in this list of lessons for entrepreneurs from Game of Thrones. If Tyrion and his gang used this rule to justify the slaughter, entrepreneurs can use it to make sure their business thrives.

As a businessman your goal is to maximize the profit, but you must always pay your debts! As soon as you leave your debts to gather, you enter a downward road, which is not going to end with a cool breeze from the business market! In fact, not even the most powerful air conditioner will be able to cool down your employees and partners, if you’ve failed to pay them on time. Worse, your business rivals are waiting for this dark scenario to happen, so they can steel your employees and partners, along with your internal secrets.

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The take away: always pay your debts, for the safety of your company.

If you do fail, everyone in the market will recognize you as a reliable, serious entrepreneur, so they will be willing to work with you again.

2. Do not fear bad times

Littlefinger’s favorite line is “Chaos is not a pit, but a ladder” and he couldn’t be more right! For an entrepreneur, the best times are bad ones, when you need to struggle and learn a lot of things on the go. During bad times you have to act fast and dare to take bold decisions. If your company manages to survive during tough times, when the storm makes room for bright sun, your company is going to sail in full bloom. One of the best lessons for entrepreneurs you can take away from Game of Thrones is seeing tough times as opportunities, not obstacles.

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3. If you need to reinforce your status as a leader, you’re sitting on a thin layer of ice

As an entrepreneur, you have to inspire your employees and partners and gain your status as a boss. Successful entrepreneurs never have to say they are the boss, just like respected people never have to say “respect me”. In Game of Thrones, the Lannisters, (“Any man who must say I am the king is no true king”) act as rulers and they are seen as rulers. In real life, you need to act like a boss, take the right decisions, be objective and never cross the boundaries. If you are a good entrepreneur, power will come to you on the way, as well as respect and profit.

4. Don’t be afraid to speak up

Tyrion Lannister also offers a great lesson for beginner entrepreneurs: he might not be taken seriously at some times, but this doesn’t stop him from speaking out loud. When you are a young entrepreneur, or you’re not even currently holding the status of an entrepreneur, but you wish you could run your own company one day, you need to be bold enough to speak up your mind. Don’t be afraid to step up in front of the line and share your ideas – you might be noticed by someone!

5. Don’t be unfair to your employees or partners

The entire Game of Thrones series is rich in bloody leaders who inspire fear in everyone who dares to look up to them. With one exception: Daenerys. The blonde teen becomes the beloved Khaleesi due to her kindness. When you translate this into business world, you gain important lessons for entrepreneurs: don’t be cruel entrepreneur, employer and partner. Yes, you do want people to respect you and listen to you, but using cruelty is not the way to gain loyalty.

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Never try to intimidate others and gamble on your skills to get contracts and grow your business. In the long run, this approach will gain you a lot of friends and trusted partners, which are essential for a successful entrepreneur.

Also, listen to your team! If you fail to do this, you might become a despised leader. Looking at Game of Thrones’ Joffrey Baratheon, you can see the side effects of such a leader. On the business market, being despised is a sure way to kill your company, as your reputation is an important drive for businesses.

6. Never break your word

In businesses, your word is sacred! Once you’ve broken a promise, you’ve lost your word as well as your credibility. Without a valid word, you are going to have a tough life in the business world, where many agreements and contracts start with a discussion at a smoke. Retrieving your credibility is almost impossible, so make sure you never break a promise. Who taught us this from Game of Thrones? Robb Stark, who promised to wed a Frey woman, than completely forgot about it and we all know the bloody consequences of his broken promise.

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Lastly, remember the iconic line from Game of Thrones: Winter is coming!

The House of Stark doesn’t want to message us all that it’s time to open the winter coat chests, but they want to say they are always looking forward to make sure they are never caught on a bad foot. Back to business, you have to look in the future and make sure you stay up to date with the latest innovations and technologies. The sooner you do this, the better for you. If you are preparing your “winter coats” in the summer, you are definitely going to win the Game of Businesses!

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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