Five Evils that Kill Productivity in Companies

Productivity is the backbone of any successful company. It’s the driving force behind innovation, growth, and profitability. However, there are certain pitfalls that can severely hamper productivity in companies. These pitfalls, often referred to as the “evils” of productivity, can be detrimental to the overall health and success of a company. In this article, we’ll delve into five of these evils and explore how they can kill productivity.

1. Absence of Empathy

The Role of a Product Manager

A product manager plays a crucial role in ensuring that the team is aligned and working towards a common goal. However, when there’s an absence of empathy from the product manager, it can lead to misunderstandings, misalignment, and ultimately, decreased productivity.

Why Empathy Matters

Empathy allows a product manager to understand the needs, challenges, and aspirations of their team members. Without it, there’s a disconnect that can lead to frustration and demotivation.

For more insights on the role of a product manager and the importance of empathy, check out this article on The Product Manager’s Handbook: What You Need to Kow That Your Boss Won’t Tell You.

2. The Stupid Sense of Urgency

The Pressure to Deliver

In today’s fast-paced business environment, there’s often a sense of urgency to deliver results quickly. However, this can sometimes be misguided and lead to rushed decisions, poor quality work, and burnout.

The Consequences

A constant sense of urgency can kill productivity by causing stress, reducing the quality of work, and leading to mistakes. It’s essential to differentiate between genuine urgency and a manufactured one.

For a deeper understanding of the consequences of a constant sense of urgency, especially for product managers, read Product Manager Burnout: The Consequences of Constant Meeting Overload.

3. The Obsession with Results

Results at Any Cost?

While it’s essential to be results-driven, an unhealthy obsession with results can be counterproductive. This obsession can lead teams to focus solely on short-term gains, neglecting long-term strategies and sustainable growth.

The Balance

Balancing the need for immediate results with long-term planning is crucial. An overemphasis on either can be detrimental to productivity and the overall success of a company.

For a comprehensive guide on balancing immediate results with long-term strategies in product management, consider reading From Scrum to Kanban: Understanding the Different Agile Product Management Processes and Roles.

4. Miscommunication

The Silent Productivity Killer

Miscommunication can lead to errors, rework, and wasted time. Whether it’s unclear instructions, lack of feedback, or simply not being on the same page, miscommunication can severely hamper productivity.


Clear communication channels, regular feedback sessions, and ensuring everyone is aligned are essential steps to avoid this pitfall.

For more on improving communication in a business setting, consider checking out this article on Top strategies for improving business productivity.

Key Takeaways

  • Empathy is crucial for alignment and understanding in a team.
  • A misguided sense of urgency can lead to stress and reduced quality of work.
  • An obsession with results should be balanced with long-term strategies.
  • Miscommunication is a silent killer of productivity.

5. Resistance to Change

The Inevitability of Change

In the ever-evolving business landscape, change is not just inevitable—it’s essential. Companies that resist change or fail to adapt quickly find themselves left behind, struggling to keep up with competitors and market demands.

The Impact on Productivity

Resistance to change can kill productivity in several ways. Employees may spend excessive time on outdated processes, tools, or methodologies. Moreover, a company that’s not open to innovation may miss out on opportunities to streamline operations or tap into new markets.

For a deeper dive into the importance of adaptability in product management, consider this insightful piece on The Product Manager’s Handbook: What You Need to Kow That Your Boss Won’t Tell You.

6. Lack of Clear Goals and Vision

The Directionless Ship

Imagine a ship sailing without a destination. It might move, but where is it going? Similarly, a company without clear goals and vision is like a directionless ship—it may be active, but it lacks purpose and direction.

The Role of the Product Manager

A product manager plays a pivotal role in setting clear goals and ensuring that the team understands the company’s vision. They act as a bridge between the company’s strategic objectives and the team’s day-to-day activities.

For more on setting clear goals in product management, this article on From Scrum to Kanban: Understanding the Different Agile Product Management Processes and Roles is a must-read.

7. Inadequate Training and Development

The Foundation of Growth

Continuous learning and development are the bedrocks of growth in any profession. When companies neglect to invest in training and development, they risk having a workforce that’s ill-equipped to handle new challenges or leverage emerging technologies.

The Consequences

Inadequate training can lead to errors, inefficiencies, and a demotivated workforce. It’s essential for companies to prioritize learning and provide their employees with the resources and opportunities they need to grow.

For insights on the importance of continuous learning in the business world, this article on Top strategies for improving business productivity is highly recommended.

8. Overburdening Employees

The Myth of Multitasking

While multitasking might seem like a valuable skill, it often leads to decreased focus and productivity. Overburdening employees with multiple tasks or projects can result in burnout, errors, and decreased morale.

The Solution

It’s crucial for managers to understand the capacities of their team members and allocate tasks judiciously. Regular check-ins, feedback sessions, and workload assessments can help in ensuring that employees are not overwhelmed.

For a comprehensive understanding of the dangers of overburdening in the realm of product management, the article Product Manager Burnout: The Consequences of Constant Meeting Overload is a valuable resource.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can companies foster a culture of empathy?

A: Companies can foster empathy by promoting open communication, providing training on emotional intelligence, and encouraging team-building activities that allow employees to understand and appreciate diverse perspectives.

Are there tools to help manage the sense of urgency in projects?

Yes, project management tools like Trello, Asana, and Jira can help teams prioritize tasks, set realistic deadlines, and manage workloads effectively.

How often should companies revisit their goals and vision?

Companies should revisit their goals and vision annually. However, regular quarterly reviews can help in making necessary adjustments based on market dynamics and internal changes.

What are the signs of employee burnout?

Signs of burnout include chronic fatigue, decreased performance, increased absenteeism, cynicism, and feelings of detachment from work.

How can companies ensure continuous training and development?

Companies can invest in online courses, workshops, seminars, and provide opportunities for employees to attend conferences or industry events. Regular skill assessments can also help in identifying areas that need development.




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