Carson Tate: How Understanding Your Productivity Style Makes You Effective

Carson Tate
Carson Tate

I spoke to Carson Tate, author of Work Simply: Harnessing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style, about how to identify productivity styles, how those styles can make teams more effective, when face-to-face communication is better than email, how she’s built her LinkedIn influence, and her best career advice.

TATE IS the founder of Working Simply and a nationally renowned expert on workplace productivity. She serves as a consultant, coach, public speaker, and executive trainer for a wide range of Fortune 500 companies and other clients. She’s the creator of the Productivity Style Assessment® and the Work Smarter, Not Harder productivity program. She serves as a coach, trainer, and consultant to executives at Fortune 500 companies including AbbVie, Deloitte, Wells Fargo, and United Technologies.

Dan Schawbel: How do you identify your own productivity style and the style of your teammates? How can knowing these styles make you a more effective team?

Carson Tate: The fastest and easiest way to identify your Productivity Style and your teammates Productivity Style is to take the free online quiz – accessible here. It will only take you 10 minutes to complete and your results, as well as, strategies, tips and tools on how to leverage your Productivity Style will be emailed directly to your inbox.
If you can’t ask your teammates to complete the assessment then look for clues and cues.
In any office you will find four Productivity Styles:
- Logical, analytical, linear and data-oriented
- Organized, sequential, planned and detailed oriented
- Supportive, expressive and emotionally oriented
- Big picture, integrative and ideation-oriented
Observe your team members and think about the following questions:
- Does she consistently complete work early, in advance of deadlines or wait until the last minute?
- Does he send emails with only a few words or write novels?
- Does she gesture and use her hands while talking? Or is she more controlled and stoic in their movements?
By knowing these styles, you are able to leverage the strengths of each style to complete projects faster AND more accurately. So, how do you leverage the Productivity Style strengths of your colleagues?
- Your logical, analytical colleague is at her best when she is processing data and solving complex problems. She will focus like a laser on achieving any stated goal or outcome and will ensure that you stay on budget.
- Your organized, detail oriented colleague’s strengths are in establishing order, structuring projects and accurately completing tasks. He will ensure work is completed on time and won’t miss a detail.
- Your supportive, expressive colleague is most skilled at building relationships, facilitating team interaction and persuading or selling ideas. She will keep all stakeholders up to date on work and effectively communicate ideas through the organization.
- Your big-picture, integrative colleague can serve as a catalyst for change, brainstorming solutions to problems and synthesizing disparate thinking. He will drive innovation, ensure variety in both thought and execution and keep you moving forward.

Schawbel: When are face-to-face conversations more effective than emails and how can we avoid overusing technology when communicating?

Tate: Face-to-face conversations are more effective than email when you need to convey emotionally charged information, for example, feedback on a presentation, you need to solve a problem or brainstorm and when you need to establish a relationship.  Email is more effective for transactional communications, like scheduling a meeting.

Schawbel: You've build a considerable audience using LinkedIn as a platform. Why do you think the site is valuable, what impact has it had on your career and what do you think makes for an engaging post?

Tate: I think LinkedIn is a valuable site because it is focused on business professionals networking and learning from one another. LinkedIn has been an exceptional resource for me professionally through connections I’ve made, as well as, content I have found useful and valuable in running by business. An engaging LinkedIn post, first is cognizant of the LinkedIn audience, provides actionable advice in and easy to consume format.

Schawbel: What are your top three pieces of career advice?

Tate: Be clear on your goals, recognize that you are a human being, not a human doing and rest and recovery is crucial to your success, hire people who are smarter than you are.
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