Since publishing Smart Work I have had many conversations with clients about the best way to increase productivity across a whole team, or across an entire organisation. Individually, they loved the Smart Work approach, but they wanted to apply the concepts in a sustained way to everyone involved. This is far more complex than helping an individual increase their personal productivity.

Helping individuals to work more productively through a set of systems, processes and habits is a crucial starting point for increased team productivity. But to boost productivity across many workers in a sustained way we need to go beyond personal productivity and examine how we work together.

We need to look closely at how leaders, managers and team members communicate, congregate and collaborate, and ensure that everyone understands the impact that our poor work behaviours have on others' productivity. Finally, our leaders must take responsibility for creating a culture and an environment that will allow productivity to flourish in the long term.

No matter how great our personal productivity, and how good our intentions, every time we interact with others there is a risk that we will drag their productivity down, or that they will drag ours down.

This happens because we are busy, under pressure, tired and sometimes a bit lazy. We don't intentionally set out to hijack or kill our colleagues' productivity. Our work is complex, and we are human. And as we push hard to achieve our ...

Get Smart Teams, 2nd Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.