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TED Talk Tuesday: 6 Rules To Simplify Complex Work

Jeff Miller

Chief Learning Officer and Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness, Cornerstone OnDemand

This is part of our monthly TED Talk Tuesday series, spotlighting can't-miss TED Talks and their key takeaways. You can learn more about our partnership with TED here.

The corporate community is facing a number of challenges. Despite technological advances aimed at helping employees work smarter, workplace productivity is at an all-time low. Employee engagement has also taken a hit—two-thirds of American employees say they do not feel engaged at work, Gallup reported.

Yves Morieux, a senior partner and managing director at Boston Consulting Group, has spent the last few years attempting to gain insight into these workplace challenges. According to him, the key to solving these problems is breaking down the barriers that limit cooperation.

Below are three key takeaways from his talk.

"Whenever people cooperate, they use less resources."

In the workplace, engagement and productivity are dependent on one another. According to Morieux, a company cannot be productive without employee engagement, but employees are more likely to become disengaged if they feel they are not making productive contributions to their company.

For a business to be successful, employees must think about how their work is impacting other people, whether that be a client, partner or colleague.

"When we don't cooperate we need more time, more equipment, more systems, more teams," Morieux says.

"We need to go beyond the boxes, beyond the job descriptions."

To make collaboration a reality, Morieux recommends companies follow what he calls the "smart simplicity approach."

The first step is to understand what your employees are working on, and how it impacts the company's bottom line. You can then understand what resources they need to do their jobs most effectively, and how cross-team collaboration can potentially provide access to these resources.

Morieux advises managers to drive these interactions by acting as integrators and empowering employees to cooperate with one another.

"Increase reciprocity by removing the buffers that make us self-sufficient."

In order to increase productivity and engagement across your organization, get rid of silos, Morieux urges. Instead of operating independently, team members must work together and help one another.

Remove the buffers that make employees self-sufficient—encourage them to help a colleague meet a deadline or host events where different departments interact to encourage people to take responsibility for team wins and losses. This way, they won't just ask, "What can I do better next time?" They'll ask, "How can we do better?"

Photo: TED

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