The secret to fully unleashing the productive power of individuals lies in the organisation. Despite knowing this for decades, many organisations are still hampered by mindsets and behaviours that no longer meet 21st century needs. Too much time is typically spent managing up, down and across the organisation – destroying much value.
As leading management thinker W. Edwards Deming noted “A bad system will beat a good person every time.”
For example, how much time does the average employee spend:
- In meetings?
- Prepping for meetings?
- On email and other communications platforms?
On top of this, a study published in the HBR found that on average 41% of knowledge workers’ time is spent on low value tasks.
I don’t mean to imply that all of this is wasted but the bottom line is how much time is left for truly innovative thinking that will grow the business and sustain it over time?
To thrive in the coming decades I would argue means:
- Being more strategic with how time and energy are allocated;
- Attracting and retaining cutting edge talent;
- Empowering employees to craft roles that fit their lives, excite them, play to their strengths and give them a sense of purpose and satisfaction;
- Building nourishing work environments that allow employees to focus on creating outsized value.
None of this is revolutionary – many top-performing companies are doing this and much more.
The question for those other companies is: “How much value will be destroyed before you act?”
There is no easy roadmap. This is about unpicking cultures, environments, mindsets and behaviours and then curating what is of benefit and composting what no longer serves. This requires buy-in from the top of the organisation and an ongoing cycle of listening, reflection and action. The process starts with a willingness to ask and answer some challenging questions!!
I’ve included some sample thought-provoking questions below. If you are curious as to how we might start asking some of them together you may find some answers in Tailored Solutions.