Excellent, from Scott Belsky’s Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality:
As you develop some norms and expectations for your team’s work flow, try to elevate true productivity over the appearance of hard work.
Managers instinctively measure work ethic with an eye on the clock. Measuring work by time spent working is seductive, because it’s easy and objective. But doing so defies the realities of the creative work flow and will ultimately damage morale.
In reality, ideas are made to happen in spurts.
The pressure of being required to sit at your desk until a certain time creates a factory-like culture that ignores a few basic laws of idea generation and human nature:
- When the brain is tired, it doesn’t work well.
- Idea generation happens on its own terms.
- When you feel forced to execute beyond your capacity, you begin to hate what you are doing.
Rather than focusing on face time, creative teams should embrace transparency and strive to build a fundamental trust between colleagues. As leaders, we must create rules and norms for the sake of efficiency rather than as a result of mistrust. We should measure tangible outputs like actions taken and quality of outcomes.
Which leads to the concept of a “results only work environment” — where “employees are compensated based on their achievement of specified goals rather than on the number of hours worked. The ultimate goal is to empower employees to make their own decisions about when and where they work as long as mutually agreed-upon goals are achieved. This means that bosses stop watching employee calendars and paying attention to when people arrive and leave the office.”
For more on the idea of a results only work environment, see the ROWE Blog and the book Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It (which I wish had a different title, but oh well), both of which are by the two former Best Buy employees who pioneered this approach at Best Buy (seeing productivity go up something like 35% in some departments) and are helping spread it to more and more companies.