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This is a guest post by Maurizio Prinzlau, CEO, Cloudwards.net

The difference between a successful team and a failing team often comes down to productivity. One key to managing a team that can deliver business outcomes, revenue growth, profitability and career growth for team members is to ensure high productivity. High productivity ensures that your team is able to achieve customer satisfaction, comfortably meet timelines, free up time for value added projects and be highly profitable even with a small number of team members. Here are a few tips to increase the productivity of your team.

Include members having education from abroad
One effective way to increase the productivity of your team is to ensure that you have some members who have been educated abroad. One may think that only high end roles like research scientists and design engineers would be a good fit to be staffed with people educated abroad. However, the fact of the matter is that even roles such as those of business analysts, sales representatives and accountants can be enabled for high performance by staffing people who have been educated abroad.
People educated abroad bring with them several facets which contribute to improving team productivity. One, by bringing in knowledge of novel best practices. Two, by bringing in a higher level of skill by way of training and Three, by small yet powerful elements of cross cultural understanding which can provide significant improvements in quality of customer interaction, sales capability, team communication and issue resolution capabilities.

Use advanced technology and tools
One easy way to increase team productivity is to employ advanced technology and tools in the workplace. There are several types of tools which can improve team productivity. Portals such as those built on SharePoint software provide a single place where team members can maintain one current version of all important documentation, thus avoiding the possibility of inaccurate documents and versioning issues. They also help you take the first step to putting in place standardized processes for all work related activities.
Team collaboration provides a platform where employees can share screenshots of what they are working on, initiate live video conversations and use whiteboard tools to work on designs. This kind of live collaboration helps to avoid rework, improve quality of work products and increase speed of delivery.
Use of cloud and VPN based technology can also provide exceptional abilities for team members to work efficiently, access important data, collaborate and be on the same page.

Follow standardized processes
Putting in place standardized processes greatly aids in increasing team productivity. For instance, consider your local McDonalds drive through. The ordering process is fairly simple and is triggered by a person in a car speaking out details of the order required. Once the payment is made, the first part of the order handling process is completed and the order is sent across to the kitchen.
The order is prepared, packed and taken to the delivery window to be handed over to the person waiting in the car. It is because the outlet operates based on standardized processes that it is able to service orders rapidly and accurately.

By effective team management
There are several elements to effective team management. One, is putting in place a rotation plan by which team members are rotated between roles at a suitable frequency. This kind of role rotation ensures that there are no dependencies created on the presence of specific individuals and alternative personnel are available to take over activities when needed. Two, by giving maximum weightage to collective goals in performance evaluations which ensures that team members understand that the primary objective day in and day out is to achieve team level goals.

Third, by ensuring effective team communication by way of regular meetings, through clear articulation of management views and by organization of team bonding sessions. The fourth element is resilient, capable and committed leadership, which is able to infuse a sense of ownership with the team members and is able to keep them working with a high level of motivation most of the time.

By implementing effective knowledge management practices
By ensuring that the knowledge accumulated by team members through the course of work is being documented comprehensively and accurately, you are able to develop a high quality knowledge repository. Such a repository is of great help in several areas. One, when you need to on board new employees, you are able to do the on boarding rapidly with good transfer of knowledge. Two, when you are trying to resolve a complicated issue for a customer, you are able to go back to prior resolution history and tap that to come up with a solution. This also comes in handy whenever you need to organize any training sessions.