If the 20th century was characterized by the creation of infrastructure and institutions, perhaps the 21st century will be one of thoughtful curation—the era when we edit things out. My latest passion is exploring how we might shed practices that do not exist in life outside of work at work. What do I mean?
Forget timecards. The origins of reporting time date from the industrial era when time & motion studies were conducted relating to assembly line work. One hundred years later in a knowledge economy, we hire brilliant people but have no idea how long it takes them to do anything. A focus on billability and hours detracts focus from what really matters: stellar outcomes.
Enough with the titles. A focus on career growth seems to have thrown a ladder on the wall that once placed, people want to climb. How about focusing on doing meaningful work with people we like, and continuing to grow at every stage, regardless of level or title?
Nix the language of “reporting.” Rather than having a boss, how about surrounding ourselves with mentors who help us contribute to the best of our abilities? Far better to think of accountability being to oneself and one’s team rather than a single business lead.
Just say no to anonymous, unattributed feedback. We learn as children that it is unkind to talk about people behind their backs. But at progressive workplaces, we are encouraged to provide candid, anonymous 360° feedback which is centrally solicited so it can be summarized and delivered to an employee without knowing who contributed. It may shed light on perceptions, but is hardly a way to build trust and empathy between co-workers. Without these, how can we truly help each other get better?
What other aspects of life at work might we question which don’t reflect the wisdom of how we have learned to live in families and communities over the millennia? How might we shift toward being even more human-centered?
© July 2011 by Pam Daniels. All rights reserved.