When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection. ~ Aiden Wilson Tozer
Talk to an executive, manager, or professional (EMPs) who has to work a lot of hours outside of normal working hours and you’re likely to hear how new technologies such as the smartphone are fueling an “always on” culture that demands long hours. A recent survey by the Center for Creative Leadership certainly supports this sentiment:
We’ve found that professionals, managers, and executives who carry smartphones for work report interacting with work a whopping 13.5 hours every workday, (72 hours per week including weekend work). We’ve also found that, on average, they have only about three hours on workdays for “discretionary” activities such as being with their family, exercising, showering, and all of those chores at home that someone has to do. (source)
More often than not however, the technology is not the cause of the problem, rather it’s poor management and poor leadership; for, as noted by Jennifer J. Deal in her white paper Always On:
In essence, technology and the “always on” expectations of professionals enable organizations to mask poor processes, indecision, dysfunctional cultures, and subpar infrastructure because they know that everyone will pick up the slack. Can’t make a decision? Call another meeting to “process.” Have a fear-based culture? Copy a bazillion people on every e-mail so your backside is covered. Can’t manage time properly? Keep staff waiting for a decision and they’ll just work all night to make the deadline. This creates meeting and e-mail overload and institutional churn so overwhelming that even the most adept manager has trouble keep his/her head above water.
Indeed, echoing sentiment in Deal’s paper I cannot tell you how many EMPs I’ve met during my career who don’t mind working necessary long hours but absolutely resent the unnecessary hours they work due to:
- Too many people involved in decision making
- Ever shifting priorities
- Unnecessary (or poorly planned) meetings
- Unnecessary e-mails
- Poor project planning and execution
So, if you’ve got valued employees in your organization working long hours and you happen to work in an industry that depends on these employees in order to stay in business, you’d do well to maximize their contributions by not wasting their time. Sure, good employees are usually willing to make up the time your organization wastes but, as noted by Deal, when headhunters try and lure them away, who do think is more likely to stick around:
Talent who feels you respect them and their time, or talent who believes you prioritize everything above them?
On that note, probably a good time to check out for the week. Before I do, how about some music?
If you’ve been following for awhile, you know I often favor lesser known artists for the growing Spotify Manufacturing Peace of Mind™ playlist. Looking back on some of my music choices over the years, it’s great to see how many have emerged from comparative obscurity to be recognized by fans and critics alike. I was therefore excited to learn Twenty One Pilots won this year’s Grammy for best pop duo/group performance. In addition to being super talented they seem to be genuinely grateful for their success and are doing a great job of keeping it all in perspective.
They also happen to be my eight year old son’s favorite band.
And so it was (that’s him in the photo) I was incredibly fortunate and grateful to be able accompany him to his first ever concert on Sunday night to see his favorite band play (with ETY earplugs on). The show was fantastic and as a parent I greatly appreciate that the entire night, we were not exposed to any inappropriate language. In honor of the experience, here is Twenty One Pilots and their song “Ode to Sleep.” The video by the way, provides some great lessons about success and is definitely worth a watch even if you don’t care for the music.
Like an old man’s hair receding
I’m pleading, please, oh please
On my knees repeatedly asking
Why it’s got to be like this
Is this living free?
Until next week,
Video not displaying properly? Click here.
Having said that, I am interested to hear from you. Good, bad, or otherwise, please feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m the only person who will read your email and, as time allows, I’ll do my best, at a minimum, to personally acknowledge receipt.