We don't do our best work @work

I came accross this Ted talk which I wanted to share with you because it resonnates with me and so many entrepreneurs I know.

The hypothesis is that companies or non profits have a number of people that do “work” for them and somehow, somewhere… it was decided that a physical space, with tables and chairs and computers and phone and a shared kitchen and maybe a few other things were necessary within the confines of a building where all those workers could come together and “work”.

When you ask people though the question “where do you go to do your best work” very rarely will people say “the office”. They may give you a place (the kitchen, the den, the coffee shop), they may give you a time (first thing in the morning, late at night) or they may give you a moving object (the car, the train).

Here is the Ted talk- watch this video then read on;  I want to introduce you to what some think is a radical concept and I think is brilliant- the concept of ROWE- Results Only Work Environment.

So part 2 of my blog post: ROWE–  a business strategy that positively impacts the bottom line while simultaneously improving the employee experience. Employees are paid for results, not their time. Companies embracing a Results-Only Work Environment enjoy staggering increases in engagement. ROWE teams report an average increase of 35% in productivity by eliminating waste from systems and processes, which increases employee capacity. ROWE teams also experience up to a 90% decrease in voluntary turnover rates.

Daniel Pink says HR executives who don’t buy into the ROWE concept might not understand how it could change HR, along with the rest of the company.

“More of the administrative tasks end up going away for HR and, I think, it frees up HR to do more sophisticated, strategic work like finding and nurturing great talent,” he says. “HR does fewer of the routine ham-and-egg administrative [tasks] and does more of the strategic responsibilities and does better for the firm.” (read the full article from HR eonline here)

Cali Ressler and Jodi Thompson are two women out to change the way HR departments… and companies in general think about WORK andthe PEOPLE who do it. You can find out more about ROWE and the companies using it at http://var/www/vhosts/christinemcleod.ca/everydayleader.ca.gorowe.com

For me, my life has never been better. Although even in my “corporate” life I always lived by the mantra “measure me on the results I achieve not the hours I put in” – I alaways felt like the odd duck. I challenged the culture I could see people trapped in of just putting in the face time and trying their best to look busy by being the “first ones in and the last ones to leave”.  Somehow that came with some sort of twisted sense that this person was a more committed manager than the person who put in regular work hours.

I probably work more hours at this point as a start-up consultancy than I have in years- but I love what I do and I love that my work gets done when and how I do it best. I am a better mom, wife, business leader and friend because I am energized and inspired. Last night I worked late but today I stopped work at 2.30 to take my 4 year old to gymnastics- and spent the rest of the afternoon with her. It’s 7.30 and I am finishing up what I needed to get done today and feeling good about it all.

Whether ROWE is right in all cases is debatable. What isn’t debatable though is that there is brilliance within people and part of our responsibility as leaders in companies is to figure out how to create the right conditions for people’s best work to happen. It is THEN that we will turbo charge our results. It is THEN that we will create inspired people who will contribute great things to their personal and professional spheres. It is THEN that we will have IMPACT. THAT is when things start feeling pretty cool.


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