Day 8–500 Words
Productivity in all its modern day guises.
For many a productive day is measured by how many meetings or calls they have attended or taken. In fact many manager will use the volume as a badge of honour, often prefacing any meeting or call with, I’m just so busy, back to back all day, everyday this week. I’ve never seen it as a good measure and have taken readings from those who claim it as badge and shown them the error in their ways. It does seem to be mostly managers who do this, those and middle level roles where justifying their existence is difficult.
The real challenge with measuring the volume is that it is in no way tied to performance, I’ve never seen the volume of meetings as a KPI in an annual review, have you? The focus must always be on the effectiveness of the time invested and whether it was genuinely spent on the real job at hand.
The KPI’s and other measures such as OKRs must be specific and devoid of ambiguity in the annual goals for each team member irrespective of their seniority. Clear and performance driven language to ensure each person is crystal clear on what they are employed to do this year.
All too often we see the copy and paste being used year after year to make the managers life easier. This is ruinous for all concerned and consigns the employee to a year of unnecessary challenge, not to mention the year end review where the discussions can become career defining.
In my humble opinion, far too many managers and middle ranks are underqualified and frankly mismanaged themselves. This all leads to a middle tier which is by definition unproductive and therefore of questionable use to the organisation or themselves. The fact that people still require managing for what are pretty mundane and repetitive task, is beyond me. By this I mean that surely they could all be better off seperated and doing something they can be great at. The world does not need C grade middle tiers, it must demand more and better of its people. It won’t of course as this would be a giant leap into the unknown and leave many upper tiers vulnerable and exposed for their own mediocrity.
So, how do we solve this conundrum? Well one way is to be truthful with children at school, help them see and educate them on the merits of being great at something they can be great at. Allow them some latitude to explore what excites them and that which they show great aptitude. Teachers who merely teach to the test are being asked to condone the mediocrity. I’m not sure that’t why they set out to teach in the first place.
Universities are chock full of mostly, young people taking degrees in subjects they feel they can use, only to find upon graduating with 2.1 at best that they in fact will choose a job which required nothing of which learned, mind you with a 2.1 at best, one might argue, how much learning did they actually complete. The system is broken at the root and requires a philosophical and intervenionist approach to its redemption. We need the leaders in their chosen fields to be the very best available. Make the learning available to ones whose merit demands it.
Academia can and must do better for all our futures. At 55 years of age I have witnessed little in the way of change in education and yet our needs have changed beyond recognition. Gone are the mills and massive car producing factories, the office lie for most of the week, empty as companies wrestle with what version of hybrid working they feel is best suited to draw their employees back to the office.
Well now I’vw got that off my chest, I’m off to read about how to change ones own habits and transfrom my own learning, this to effect the change I wish too see in others by effecting in myself first. I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on.