I have been working and writing and thinking quite a bit about how to help my clients get more OUT of their systems. My last blog post inspired Pierre Khawand to ping me with this great video of him describing his 40 minute focus for breakthrough results, which is connected to his The Accomplishing More With Less Workbook.
He illustrates in three minutes a key element of why helping people focus is so important. The basic idea is familiar: when people are interrupted in their work, they struggle to get back into the swing of things. I usually talk about this in the context of multitasking and how long it takes to complete a job, compared to what it would take with focused effort. Pierre takes an orthogonal view on the same situation. He looks at results obtained over time. With a focused effort, results come and ramp up as work proceeds. But when there are frequent interruptions - unchecked, ungated, no way to say "no" - then those results can never hit the ramp. People are continually getting restarted.
Finding ways to focus - or letting people focus, if you are the manager is the key to bringing both results and speed to the organization. Pierre acknowledges a limit to the results that come in any given focus period. He recommends pausing to reenergize, an idea that inspires the Pomodoro Technique and similar approaches: Work - rest - Work.
Sounds like I might want to pick up his book.