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Ladd on Gladwell Regarding Workplace Productivity

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Local Indianapolis blogger Parke Ladd recently cited popular author Malcolm Gladwell. Their joint insights on work are right on target.

Quoting Ladd, who is quoting Malcolm Gladwell on Work:

When work is truly satisfying it meets 3 key criteria:

  1. Work must be Autonomous:  You must be responsible for your own decisions and direction.
  2. Work must be Complex:  It must engage your mind and your imagination.
  3. Work must display an intrinsic Connection between Effort and Reward: The more you put into the work, the more you get out of the work.

Although Gladwell and Ladd both talk about work that is “truly satisfying,” they also hallmark work as truly productive. Let’s examine each of the three points in turn:

  1. Self-directed: If every moment of work does not need to be supervised, both the manager and the employee can be more productive.
  2. Complex: Extremely simple tasks can usually be done by machines or computers. It is detailed work which requires human judgment, creativity and ingenuity.
  3. Rewarding: When you complete a complicated, self-directed task, you feel great. This inspires you to do an even better job on the next project, accelerating individual productivity.

Even meeting just one of these criteria for one hour out of the workday has an incredible impact on productivity and satisfaction. Pursuing all three will transform the workplace into an environment where everyone can make significant, meaningful contributions every day.

employees enjoying workplace productivity

© Flickr user Victor1558

Furthermore, the wisdom offered by Parke Ladd and Malcolm Gladwell reinforces our post about business improvement consulting to avoid job description prison. Listing employee expectations may define work, but does not necessarily lead to a truly satisfying or truly productive work experience. Instead, we should list employee strengths and areas of current focus. We should grant them the autonomy to complete tasks, try to assign work that is fascinating and relevant, and promote a culture where great work is its own reward.

Make your workplace better by pursuing work that’s truly satisfying and truly productive!

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