The Era of Productivity
What is getting done is ultimately what matters in our organization. Did we deliver on customer expectations? How many sales got made? Did we build our brand? Are we having industry influence? Are we efficient? Do employees feel valued? These and other questions are what matter in our organization.
What does not matter is how long did it take to work on it? Did you spend 3 hours on Facebook today? Did you take a 2 hours at lunch and an afternoon nap? These questions and many others do not matter in long run. What we want to know at Habuda Consulting is did you deliver or your productivity goals. Did you meet and exceed expectations on your deliverables? As long as it gets done in a way that aligns with our core values I could ultimately care less.
When I explain this to clients, peers and potential partners they look at me in shock. What about hours of operation and office locations? How do we ensure that the right things are happening? How do we guarantee that people are using their time well?
My response is that it does not matter; we are in an era of productivity. This era is defined as a time in history where far more is being done with far less. When people are left to do what they do best, knowing that they will be reviewed and measured by the quality of their outcomes it is amazing what can happen. We are a highlight reel generation. We use social media to feature our best moments and portray ourselves in the best possible light. We edit photos to overcome shortcoming. We are used to others only seeing the end results of our hard work not the grueling process that it took to get there. We may review a few drafts but in the end we want to feature and be measured on the quality of our end results. The Era of Productivity provides for this.
As I work with my clients I am still surprised by the butts in seats mentality perpetuated in some of the largest and oldest companies in the US. This mentality is in direct conflict with everything we know about the prevailing viewpoints of our current workforce. This mentality that believes the time spent at the desk in an office is reflective of the quality of an employee. This thinking has two major negative impacts on an organization. The first is that if your workforce is under the age of 45 this heavy handed approach to management feels extremely undermining to the worker. They are placed in situations where they feel that they report to a manager the way a child reports to a parent. The impact on the quality of work is extremely damaging in the long run. The second major impact of this mentality is that people become extremely efficient at “playing” the system. I’ve known corporate employees that confessed to me in interviews that on average they put in 2 hours of focused work per day while pulling a six figure paycheck. The nature of work today has changed but our environment is still heavily tied to the thinking of the industrial revolution. The days of assembly line work has faded significantly, and what has replaced it is the self-paced work of the office cubicle. And due to ineffective management of this work environment workers are spending more time than ever “looking like they are working” and far less time creating value for the companies that they work in on a daily basis. I have hired freelancers that confess that they love the freelance work so much because they can create in two hours per week from home what takes a week in their day job. This should not be the case, and while the employee must take some level of ownership the companies we run are to blame as well. We are replicating the environments that we have worked in for the past 100 years and in doing so we are creating work environments that are becoming more irrelevant and soul crushing every day. If we are going to be the innovative companies that we must be to stay relevant in the modern economy, something is going to have to change.
What is unfortunate is that this is only one of the factors that is slowly creating a workplace that is detrimental to innovation and success. Before we can explore all the other factors we need to look a few things that we can do to adapt our organizations to maintain innovation and success in the workplace.
- Stop the Clock Watching and Start Measuring Deliverables. This is the most significant step an organization can take to move away from an environment that celebrates hours on a timesheet and begins to celebrate the successful completion of value creating work.
- Watch for Over work the same way you do the under worker. This is a growing problem in organizations across the country, in this day and age it consistently becomes more difficult to hire the best talent. What is even more concerning is that we are creating environments where our best people are being forced work to the point of burnout in order to make up for those that are not being held accountable for fixed deliverables and superior products delivery. Let’s ease the burn by measuring productivity and effectiveness not overwork and hours spent in a chair.
- Stop being the work police. If we begin to place our people in positions where they police their own work, and the work of their peers due to interdependency. We will soon find the quality of the work will increase exponentially. This is peer accountability and it will begin to pay off in a major ways in your organizations.
These are three things that we can do to begin to reclaim our work environments, and bring the spirit of productivity and innovation back to the forefront.
If you found this article helpful and would like to dive deeper into optimizing your work environment I would love to work with you to reclaim your organization to achieve greater levels of success. To learn more check us out at www.HabudaConsulting.com or send me an email at Matt@HabudaConsulting.com .