It seems we are always searching for that “silver bullet” that will be the answer to all our dilemmas. A popular seminar held by AccelaWork outlined one solution as a handy formula: Productivity + Satisfaction = Results.
The ultimate purpose of work is results. It’s not meetings, internal emails, or water-cooler conversations (although we may need to do this tasks along the way.) Instead, the reason we make companies is because we want to build products and deliver services to actual customers. There are many components to a good working environment, but we can all agree that to keep the lights on and the paychecks coming we need to generate something valuable. Companies that no longer provide value, no longer have a useful place in the market. You can see it through many industries that failed. As home video streaming became possible, Blockbuster ultimately failed. As e-readers became mainstream, Borders Books was forced to shut their doors. Was the problem a lack of effort in any of those organizations? Not likely. Most people there, from upper management to floor workers, were likely putting in effort. But they weren’t able to adapt and compete when it came to the productivity of their new competitors.
Every manager, business owner and even some employees are tempted to believe that the relationship between effort and outcome is simple. Put in more time and energy, get more in return. If you spend four hours instead of two digging a ditch, shouldn’t you get about twice as far?
This viewpoint is attractive, but we know it’s false. “I’ll just come in over the weekend and wrap this up,” we tell ourselves. Yet we know that we need our rest and time away from work. Even the ditchdigger might be better off with ten minute breaks every hour rather than working for four hours straight. Wouldn’t you expect him to make more progress with a chance to occasionally take a drink of water and catch his breath?
Instead, achieving more requires a higher level of thinking. We can’t just measure the amount of time spent at the office. People who become obsessed with each working minute sometimes end up doing crazy things like measuring bathroom breaks, which won’t improve employee productivity, or setting up motion sensors keyed to go off when employees walk too slowly, which definitely won’t improve employee retention.
You have to be going about things the right way. Instead of saying practice makes perfect, many like to say perfect practice makes perfect. And that’s true. You can work as hard as you want, but if you aren’t working smart, then in the long run you really aren’t going to get anywhere. And the only thing that’s worse than not achieving big results is not achieving big results when you’ve put in hours and hours of hard work.
We also know that employee satisfaction isn’t tied to money so much as as they are driven by a sense of engagement. We care about work when we find it meaningful. Once employees start to feel empowered, they have incredible drive and enthusiasm. If they don’t feel empowered, then satisfaction, and ultimately quality of life, is going to suffer.
The formula for results depends on two factors. First: a measure for progress based on value, not just time. We call that productivity. Second, a measure of personal connection to work which represents pride of ownership. That’s not just excitement, it is satisfaction. This gives us a new formula:
Learn more about how we can help your business by contacting our business process improvement consultants specialists.