Running to Work Instead of Away From It
Google brought to light a revolutionary idea that only a handful of companies had tried out. To build all encompassing work environments that would encourage people to not only bring their full self to work but to want to spend all of their time in the office. The more time in the office the greater the innovation and production.
The standard was providing free breakfast and lunch. Open areas consisted of video games and ping pong. Other technology companies modeled. Eventually these were look at as entitlements and not the engagement producing cultures originally believed.
This was a model of a slight of hand. It helped at first, but the real innovation and engagement was driven by the passion of the work. Once the flavor of the month is gone, the environment won’t work for driving performance.
When you look at the role you do and what you’re capable of doing is there a difference? Can you do more, handle greater complexity, and excel? If the answer is yes, you are underutilized.
Office and performance expectations are typically based on the manager’s assessment. With new employees there are low levels of trust, and it takes time and experience to grow higher expectations. Many times, though, this takes dedicated effort on the manager to constantly reassess need versus talent while raising expectations. Unfortunately, this is a rarity instead of the standard.
Many hear the term lack of bandwidth or stretched as negatives. As it can be replaced with the term purgatory or a state to avoid. Another way to look at this is being fully utilized. A certain level and feeling of satisfaction and respect follows. Being challenged and stretched to your limits is a good thing in terms of finding work satisfaction. At a certain point you’ll hit failure, but if you’re not always stretching, you are the rubber band snapping back.
Years ago, I was a single father. I worked an 11-hur day with a two-hour commute. Time seemed to always be the limiting factor. My daughter and I had a great house though sitting on a quarter acre. Unfortunately, that took two-hours each week just to do a spotty job at maintaining the lawn. Trust me, my neighbors were not fans of what my yard did for their home value.
I never did enjoy yard work, nor did I ever feel that satisfaction of beautifying an outdoor space. A close friend asked me to look at the value of my time. He said, “your key essence to life isn’t mowing the lawn nor does it bring you pleasure. Pay someone else to do it for you.”
I think about that interaction a couple times each year and how it relates to the business world. If what you are doing is not a core competency, have someone else do it. You then enable specialists to work on what they love, and you no longer need to think about the dreaded tasks nor worry about them.
When you focus on core competencies, your extraneous work is gone. Sometimes extraneous work is a good change of pace, but more often than not it is a distractor from how you provide value. This is the start for controlling your concentration.
That concentration needs the assist of not having interruptions. Being able to move around and not remain stationary all-day. Having meeting free days and being able to reflect on the work you are doing and the future of work.
The goal is to eventually design the perfect workday. You know what makes you tick. The conditions necessary to get your top performance. This is the chance to think about it and then create it.
Creating a dream state for yourself is not a hard task. Attempting to create a dream state for an entire team becomes much more difficult. Everyone is different but a compromise can be found that works for the whole team.
I encourage you to engage the entire team in the topic and having an open conversation. The hope is that the team would create their own set of values or rules on how to operate together. This could range from having specific collaboration and deep thought times to how they can create together.
The main concern is gaining or maintaining group cohesion. Teams that operate well together have unwritten rules and boundaries that they adhere to. The tradeoffs of guidelines are high levels of action.
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