Working smart, as a team

Excerpt from Working Hard is not the same as working smart 

I pointed out to Rahul that what he was watching was that his entire company had bought into the “culture of working late” — but not because they had work to do, or it was making them more competitive or generating more revenue — but because the CEO said it was what mattered.

Every evening the VPs were waiting for the CEO to leave, and then when the VPs left everyone else would go home.

Long hours don’t necessarily mean success. There are times when all-nighters are necessary (early days of a startup, on a project deadline) but good management is knowing when it is needed and when it is just theater.

Rahul’s response was one I expected, “This is what we did in investment banking at my first job in my 20s. And my boss rewarded me for my ‘hard work.’ Sleeping at my desk was something to be proud of.” I completely understood — I learned the same thing from my boss.

The rest of the dinner conversation revolved around, if not hours worked, what should he be measuring; when it is appropriate to ask people to work late; burnout; and the true measures of productivity.

Lessons Learned

1.Define the output you want for the company getting input from each department/division.

  • Use Mission and Intent to create those definitions and the appropriate metrics for measuring them
  • Publish and communicate widely
  • Provide immediate feedback for course correction

2.Define the output you want for each department

  • Define mission and intent for the department
  • Create the appropriate metrics for each employee to match mission
  • Measure and document output at appropriate intervals (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
  • Publish and communicate widely
  • Provide immediate feedback for course correction

3.Ensure that the system does not create unintended consequences.