Want to know a dirty little secret in business? Everyone loves being busy.

Don't believe me? Try walking into your office and asking all of your employees this one simple question:

More often than not, you'll either get blank stares or guilty glances in return.

And this is the tough truth most entrepreneurs and employees just won't admit: It's so easy to be busy, busy, busy... yet have zero results to show at the end of the day.

So how do you do it differently?

Here are some ideas that have worked brilliantly for me, and helped both myself and my employees to stay focused on the right things.

Live by your organization chart. Even the most talented people will make lousy employees... if you place them in the wrong departments. To ensure a good fit, develop an organization chart, and refer to it constantly while building your team. Without an org chart to keep things structured (and keep people accountable), your employees tend to fall into the trap of being busy for the sake of being busy.

Trust me, I learned this the hard way. When I first started running my business, I had no clue how to build a team. I used to put people into positions based on what I thought they were best for, and I'd get frustrated when they didn't perform.

If you don't already have an org chart, there's no time to waste. Make it a priority to draw it up, and make sure you get your team's input so that everyone is on the same page.

Trust by verification. Make this your mantra: inspect what you expect. With this step, you're turning your org chart into something actionable. Yes, your org chart tells you George is the VP of sales, and he's responsible for increasing your sales figures by 5 percent month on month. But is he actually performing and hitting all his Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)? With regular inspections, you'll know!

My company has an internal system that keeps track of how each employee is performing. With this system, it's easy to see who's working hard and who's slacking off, with just a single glance.

If you don't have a system like that, don't sweat it--you can always do this the old-school way. Just check in with your employees and review their work once a week. Assuming all goes well, and your employees prove to be competent and reliable, you can scale back on these inspections, and have them once a month instead.

Delegate, don't dump. Delegation is an art every entrepreneur should master. But look, you can't just dump a project or task onto your employee and expect them to blow your mind with their execution. If you want your employee to do a good job, you'll need to empower them to do so. Set expectations off the bat, and use checkpoints and milestones to keep them on track.

With all the tasks that I or my managers delegate, we get detailed. It's not just about the "what"--but also the "when" and "how."

Try this yourself: the next time you delegate a task, create a "task brief" that details the milestones and timeline associated with the task. It's more work upfront, but it really helps your employees stay on track and get things done.

It's easy to fall into the trap of being busy in business. But as an entrepreneur and a leader, you can't afford to do so. Use these three tips to keep yourself (and your team!) on your toes, and keep hustling toward your ultimate goal.

Why 'Busy' Is Not the Same as 'Productive'

Published on: Mar 15, 2018