Recently I’ve found several of my clients doing their employees jobs while neglecting their duties as an owner. The most typical reason I hear is, it’s easier to do it myself, or I really needed it done now, and I couldn’t count on someone else to do it.
These are the same clients who want help improving accountability in their organization and more time to spend on personal or family goals. Interestingly it’s typical for their staff to have light workloads and most employees cannot adequately answer “How do you know you are doing a good job?”
“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.” –Lucille Ball
There are lots of quotes on how happy employees are more productive, but I couldn’t find anything stating the inverse: Busy employees are happier. If this isn’t immediately intuitive let’s go to the extreme, imagine going to work every day and having nothing to do. The New York City school system had a disciplinary program for teachers that illustrates how punitive this is. For teachers where the offense was not sufficient to be fired, they were required to report to a room for their work day with no assigned duties, most would read the newspaper or browse the internet for the first few weeks and eventually they would quit or be fired for absenteeism.
Your employees have an innate need to be productive and feel needed. I’ve worked with a very successful software company that had a strategy of staffing at a level where everyone could only work on what was essential and urgent. To reduce stress, they provided training on identifying necessary and critical and openly acknowledge that some less important and less urgent matters would be neglected. While this is an extreme strategy, I don’t typically recommend it. However, it did create a work environment where most employees felt what they did was important and what they worked on had value. If you would like to learn more about time management, I suggest you read the works of Stephen Covey. Below is the time management matrix he presented in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
How much of your time do you spend working on items in quadrant I, in quadrant IV? What about your employees?
Moreover, how does this relate to accomplishing the uncomfortable? In most cases my clients are procrastinating setting goals, communicating visions and ensuring their employees know what is required to be successful. These are not the activities that generated the prior successes my clients enjoyed, these are new, unfamiliar activities and for most people uncomfortable.
“If you want something you have never had, you have to do something you have never done!” (1)
Make doing the following your most urgent and essential activity. Work on it every day.
- Establish clear objectives and activities level for each position in your company.
- Provide each employee with timely information regarding how they are performing against the objectives and activity level you have set.
- Review and adjust your staffing levels, do you have enough employees or too many to meet your objectives and activities levels?
These three activities will transform the performance of your company and the lives of your employees.
(1) It was part of a speech given by Dr. Shaun Marler who is the Senior Pastor of World Harvest Ministries in Brisbane, Australia. Moreover, it was in a report on Monday, September 29, 2008, which starts with “”If you want something you have never had, you have to do something you have never done!” Correct credit for this quote is uncertain.
The next part of the speech goes on to say –
“Now think about that again. A definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. How much do you want success in life? Enough to change what you are saying or enough to change what you are doing or enough to change what you are focusing your attention on”?
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: