The Real Purpose of Workplace Efficiency Isn't What You Think It Is
When I started my career, I quickly discovered that I had more to do than I could get done in a forty-hour workweek. So, I worked more hours. I got to the office at 5:00 a.m. and usually didn’t leave until 6:00 p.m.
I often worked on Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings, too. It wasn’t unusual to put in sixty to seventy hours a week, or even more. But I still wasn’t getting enough done. So I figured I just needed to get more efficient.
Take a guess: What portion of the American workforce said they were “most productive” at the office during normal work hours? According to a recent FlexJobs survey, the number could be as low as 7 percent. Many more said they get some things done at the office “because it’s not an option to leave.”
Whatever the number of highly focused workers is, it’s too low. In the massive State of the American Workplace report, Gallup found that only 33 percent of workers are significantly engaged at work.
And a smaller but more troubling number of workers are “actively disengaged,” meaning they “are miserable in the workplace and destroy what the most engaged employees build.” As for the other 51 percent, Gallup found “[they] are not engaged—they’re just there.”
3 Ways to Let Go and Find What You’ve Been Missing
I spent an afternoon last week cleaning out my closet. It was high time I did. I had shirts, pants, shoes, and hats that I had not worn in months—in some cases, years. When I thought about it after, the whole experience became a kind of a metaphor for improvement.
It occurred to me that if we want more of what we want, we have to get rid of what we don’t want. It’s the necessary but sometimes painful process called pruning.
The 3 Changes that Made It Work for Me and My Team Again
My team and I have been using Slack as our primary communication platform since June 2014. As we grew, email became unmanageable and other solutions like Basecamp weren’t a fit. After a full-immersion trial, we were sold!
But then we unsold ourselves. It took three years. But, just as email didn’t scale with our growth, neither did Slack.
In June, some of the Michael Hyatt & Company team signed up for our first month-long mindfulness challenge. Folks meditated every day and reported back in a special Slack channel on what worked and didn’t work for them, and whether or not they found it worthwhile.
You might wonder why we would do this as an organization and if it was a success.
How Leading with Positive Expectations Can Work for You
Winston Lord is a former ambassador to China who once wrote speeches for Henry Kissinger. Looking back, he said he couldn’t “recommend that to anybody.” Why? “You’d have to go through about 20 drafts and many insults before you got to the final speech.”
In one outrageous but true example, Lord took Kissinger a draft of a speech. Kissinger called him into his office the next day. “Is this the best you can do?” he asked. “Henry, I thought so,” Lord answered, “but I’ll try again.”
Next draft—same response. Back to drawing board again … and again … and again. The back-and-forth went on until the ninth draft, when Lord’s patience finally snapped.
3 Reasons Your Leadership Doesn’t Get the Results You Want
Tell me you’ve had this experience. You assign a task but then forget about it. I sure have. As a leader, I am not a micromanager. That’s good news for my team. But I have to be intentional that delegation doesn’t drift into abdication.
It’s not always disastrous when this happens. If we’ve hired well, our teams bridge the gap and nobody is worse off. But sometimes when assignments fall through the cracks, we create serious problems for ourselves.