The best companies in the world should be the smartest, right? Amazingly, many organizations continue to believe in myths that have been debunked for ages.
Tackling some of the most destructive corporate myths is the topic of one post from the Harvard Business Review. Blogger Tony Schwartz listed four of them:
Myth #1: Multitasking is critical in a world of infinite demand.
his myth is based on the assumption that human beings are capable of doing two cognitive tasks at the same time. We’re not. Instead, we learn to move rapidly between tasks. When we’re doing one, we’re actually not even aware of the other.
Myth #2: A little bit of anxiety helps us perform better.
Think for a moment about how you feel when you’re performing at your best. What adjectives come to mind? Almost invariably they’re positive ones. Anxiety may be a source of energy, and even motivation, but it comes with significant costs.
Myth #3: Creativity is genetically inherited, and it’s impossible to teach.
In a global economy characterized by unprecedented competitiveness and constant change, nearly every CEO hungers for ways to drive more innovation. Unfortunately, most CEOs don’t think of themselves as creative, and they share with the rest of us a deeply ingrained belief that creativity is mostly inborn and magical.
Myth #4: The best way to get more work done is to work longer hours.
No single myth is more destructive to employers and employees than this one. The reason is that we’re not designed to operate like computers — at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time.
Instead, human beings are designed to pulse intermittently between spending and renewing energy. Great performers — and enlightened leaders — recognize that it’s not the number of hours people work that determines the value they create, but rather the energy they bring to whatever hours they work.
Schwartz is correct on two counts: not only are all of these false statements, but there is widespread belief in these incorrect ideas. But it’s not as if these are new to us here at AccelaWork. We have discussed debunking multitasking to promote workplace productivity. We’ve talked candidly about how working longer hours effects employee satisfaction. We’ve taken on the issues with deadlines interrupting employee productivity. And it seems like half of our posts are about how to be more creative at work, even if you don’t feel like a creative person!
If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you’ve seen all these things talked about ad nauseum. Yet they still keep coming up throughout the business world. There’s still people who stay late at work simply for the act of staying late. There’s still people who insist on keep seven tabs open on their computer at all times. There are still people who shy away from creative endeavors since they think they don’t “have the gift” for it. Perhaps worst of all, people continue to stress themselves thinking that’s the only way to really be working.
Myths can be attractive. If it really was possible to do two things at once, surely we could get more done. If creativity was truly genetic, then we wouldn’t feel so guilty about our lack of inspiration. But these corporate myths are totally false. Not only have they been handily disproven by science, they are easy to reject through clear thinking and honest self-reflection.
Is your organization operating on an assumption that might just turn out to be another corporate myth? If you’re unhappy, exhausted, frustrated or unproductive, this just might be the case. Learn more about how to work smarter. Contact the small business consulting specialists at AccelaWork today!