David D’Souza’s post the other day (http://ddsouzadotcom.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/the-productivity-problem/) got me thinking……
Last week my husband was away with work so it was me and the kids for a few days on our own. Things ticked along nicely. Yes, they argued sometimes, or course, but mostly things ran pretty smoothly and we had a good time together.
Then husband returned and things changed. I found myself getting frustrated that he wasn’t doing things I thought he should be, frustrated that he wasn’t seeming to be on the Amery family agenda.
In hindsight, jet lag won’t have been helping. But in reality, the cause of my frustration was me. My (uncommunicated!!) expectation that from the moment he was back in the house, he was back on the team, back working to the same goal, back to share the workload!
And it made me realise that when I’m on my own I plan differently, I make different choices, I ask the children to help with little jobs here and there, I prioritise differently.
This caused me to reflect on my time (albeit a brief two weeks!) with my new business. How different the world of freelance – especially as a brand new business – where it’s all you. A complete contrast to the world I left where, yes of course I had my own work, but where there was a team of people around me who I worked with and through to get things done.
Neither is right or wrong, good or bad; they’re just different.
But I wonder what this means for productivity in an employed environment.
Not everyone’s in the same place as Tarquin in David’s post but there are plenty of people who’ll lean on others more than they should, or who just won’t do their work well because they believe it won’t matter in the grand scheme of things, or who don’t plan or prioritise because there’s always tomorrow / someone else to do the work, or who pick up this slack created by others. All of these are people who, for whatever reason, don’t know what’s expected of them. A myriad of mindsets left to wander as they choose.
Of course we’re never going to, and should never want to, get to a place where everyone has an identical work ethic – that would be dull. Plus a lot of the HR and L&D profession would be out of a job!
And as with most of these things, it’s not black and white. There’s a continuum from ‘nobody’s delivering what they’re supposed to’ all the way to ‘everyone’s a perfect, fully engaged, fully productive employee!’.
And wouldn’t it be great to understand the reality so we can slap ourselves on the back for a job well done, or figure a few things out to get working life a bit better so everyone can feel more successful.
So what’s it like where you work? Who do you work with that is unclear of what their role should deliver? Who do you know that thinks their work makes no difference to the organisation’s success? What impact is it having on them…the team around them…the whole organisation?
How much does it matter?