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The power of prioritizing high-value activities at work

January 24, 2023



Shopify recently announced a new policy to remove any recurring meetings with three or more people. They asked people to keep the meetings off everyone’s calendar for at least three weeks, and then to be very critical of which meetings were necessary to add back to everyone’s calendar. 

Kaz Nejatian, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Product, told the company that people work at Shopify to do meaningful work and make cool things. He said, those who work at the company do so, “to see the thing they had their hands on get released so they can say, ‘whoa, I made that.’ Meetings are a bug along that journey.”

Nejatian’s observation is not unique. Many organizations notice that their teams suffer from an overwhelming number of recurring meetings every day. Unnecessary meetings not only make teams less productive, they also add to a general sense of burnout for individuals who attend them. In other words, many recurring meanings are low-value activities for organizations. 

If your organization needs to improve productivity, the first step is to follow Shopify’s lead and focus on high-value activities. To help you understand what those are and how to define them for your company, keep reading. 

High-value activities drive business

At their core, high value activities are those that are critical to your business. They center around your customers—both current and potential. For sales teams, for example, high-value activities include building outreach sequences, building relationships with various stakeholders across the organization of current customers, or refining a pitch deck. 

These activities fit with the skills and interest of the sales rep, they directly influence pipeline and sales opportunities, plus, they do not require collaboration from large internal teams. In terms of ROI, these are the activities you want your teams to be focused on for as many hours of the day as possible. 

If your executive team is currently experiencing productivity paranoia, consider appeasing their fears by defining high-value activities for each department. Discuss how you can create time and space for each individual to focus on those behaviors, and as with Shopify, be ruthless about implementing those changes to help make your team more productive. 

High-value activities improve company culture

Between layoffs, hiring freezes, and universally tough economic times, it’s easy to understand why people are reporting higher instances of burnout at work. Unfortunately, because these factors are out of the control of most leaders, they are finding it difficult to keep their team motivated. 

Nejatian proves that while executives can’t change the reality of our current market, there are still policies that can help improve the daily lives of their workforce. By prioritizing the talents, interests, and growth of their employees, they’ve created an environment where individuals can do meaningful work to improve their product. These improvements not only make happier, more engaged employees, but they also create new possibilities for Shopify customers. The advancements made by creative, efficient, and focused work are sure to be much more valuable to customers than the work of distracted individuals. 

Remember that when you are considering changes to your operations or workplace in general, your current and future employees are just as important as your current and future customers. Do what you can to ensure the work they do is high-value and interesting and you are sure to see improvements in company culture as well as your product. 

Get help defining your high-value activities with can help define, measure, and improve productivity by highlighting the best practices of your team. See how we report on your high-value activities and help you automate or eliminate the low value activities that can hurt your company’s bottom line. Schedule a demo today!