Productivity Styles: Why They Matter for You and Your Team

Tired of productivity “hacks” that just don’t work?

Looking for a better way to improve your – and your team’s – productivity?

Understanding “productivity styles” could be the key to unlocking higher productivity.

What are productivity styles?

First developed by consultant Carson Tate, productivity styles refer to the way your brain is wired to process information, prioritize tasks, solve problems, and get work done. Much like a management style, you also have a natural personal productivity style that falls into one of four categories:

1. The Prioritizer

These individuals are logical, goal-oriented, efficient, and analytical. They are typically decisive and ingrained with a keen sense of what matters most. Prioritizers can quickly identify a primary task and then complete a large amount of work toward it in a short period. On the downside, they can be controlling, excessively competitive, and value speed over excellence.

2. The Planner

Planners are detail-oriented, organized, and conscientious. They’re skilled at creating schedules, making lists, and establishing (and hitting) deadlines. When working on projects, they quickly identify potential roadblocks and get things done while following established rules and processes. Drawbacks to this productivity style include a lack of spontaneity and valuing process over project.

3. The Arranger

Arrangers are intuitive, collaborative, and persuasive. Fueled by emotion and teamwork, these individuals love to work with others in making decisions and considering how those choices will impact everyone. Arrangers are highly visual list-makers who need the correct tools to get their work done. Disadvantages of this productivity style are a lack of awareness of how their style impacts others, lack of adequate planning, and valuing people over projects.

4. The Visualizer

These individuals are big-picture thinkers who excel at synthesizing and integrating. Adept at connecting disparate concepts and pieces of information, visualizers are change catalysts who are great at creative thinking. On the downside, they can be impulsive, tend to overlook details, and value possibilities over process.

What’s your productivity style? Take this quick quiz on Harvard Business Review.

Why do productivity styles matter for you – and your team?

The more you and your team members know about yourselves, the more you can tailor your work environment, schedule, collaboration activities, and personal productivity tools to leverage your inclinations and strengths. Here are a few examples of how productivity styles impact work:

  • Some people are better at brainstorming in real-time with a group; others prefer to think quietly on their own before sharing ideas.
  • Some people enjoy managing their activities and time; others are more productive when they’re self-directed.
  • Some like background noise and activity around them when working; others are distracted by it.
  • Some like to have all the elements of a project spread out around them when working; others need a clear desk/desktop to function efficiently.
  • Some people prefer visual planning tools to organize and track projects; others work better with spreadsheets and lists.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are a few other reasons it’s important to understand productivity styles in the workplace:

  • Once you know your natural tendency, you can listen to speech and work patterns to understand your coworkers’, direct reports’, and even clients’ styles. Understanding and appreciating how others work can make you more efficient and successful in your own job.
  • People will naturally perform better in jobs and on teams that complement their productivity style.
  • Understanding your productivity style can help you do a better job setting goals, managing your time, learning, and working with others.

Looking for more ways to improve your team’s productivity?

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