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Results through Flexibility

Results through Flexibility

When you give your energy and passion to a large corporation, eventually you lose your identity.

It is possible to lose your identity and your personality in order to be molded into what the company expects. To climb the corporate ladder, some folks will morph into whatever creature is necessary to be promotable.

Results are not as important as how their results or non-results are achieved.  Work style, versus the work product, becomes king.

Being present and accounted for each and every day is also a key component of this archaic and brutal system.

My father worked for the same energy company 44 years, received a perfect attendance award and a gold watch upon retirement, then died several months later of a massive heart attack, unable to enjoy his long-awaited retirement.

My father’s compliance with the corporate system likely led to his premature death.  Fortunately, I checked out of the system years ago.

One major reason people lose their identities, if not souls, during their career is leadership inflexibility.

Evidently, leaders learn how to be inflexible the first day in graduate school because there are some exquisitely inflexible people out in the business world.

Their ability to track every minute of your arrival, lunch and departure times to the millisecond, plus your latest PTO balance, is impressively accurate.  I have met leaders who expect employees to arrive promptly at 8:00 am each morning with little wiggle room, yet they expect employees to be flexible when an unexpected project deadline arrives and they are needed to work late into the evening or over the weekend.

How creative can employees be when they are watched like prisoners?

Face-time leaders are really not that effective because they spend so much time looking at the clock and trying to keep track of bodies in cubicles.  They think telecommuting only applies to employees with influenza, Ebola, or something very contagious.

Flexibility, on the other hand, works both ways.  Leaders need flexibility from employees and employees need it from their leaders.  Leaders, however, must be willing to take the first step.

There is one major reason why I am so enamored by the movement called ROWE.

Short for Results-Only Work Environment, the focus has changed from presence to productivity.  The focus shifts to the actual results one contributes to the company.

Companies adopting the ROWE work style have witnessed productivity increases as high as 40%.  The benefits of the movement touch employees and companies in many ways, including happier employees and a bigger bottom line.

Kevin Kennemer is founder of The People Group based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kevin is driven by his passion for company owners and their need to earn a profit, employees' desire for a positive and fulfilling work experience, and the community that benefits when both groups do well.

1 Comment

  1. R. B. 14 years ago

    I agree with you completely. I spent 8 hours today at work (a short day) getting almost nothing done because I’m sick. But where I work, my boss puts such a premium on always being there, this matters more to him than what I accomplish. I hate feeling that kind of pressure and I get frustrated when I give in to it. But the boss has the power to turn the world upside down, leaving you without a job in spite of all you have contributed…just because you sometimes need a little flexibility. When you’re all alone in the world, that’s an especially frightening prospect.

    I personally believe employees should be treated like adults. If they can’t handle being treated as an adult, then maybe they shouldn’t be an employee. But in a results-only work environment, that’s exactly what you have to do…treat employees as adults. Perhaps I am a bit crazy, but I think if you do treat employees this way instead of treating them like children, if you explain what needs to be accomplished, give them the responsibility of accomplishing those things and hold them accountable for the outcome, most of the time, the employee will rise to the occasion and then some. They probably won’t get there the same way you would. They may even come up with a few really amazing ideas you would have never thought of. And if more companies did business this way, well, there’s really no end to the possibilities.

    Unfortunately, this philosophy isn’t widely accepted. We tighten the thumb-screws, watch every move, demand an accounting of every minute and stifle creativity, innovation and motivation at every opportunity. It takes a lot to buck the system. Most people don’t have the power or stamina. Maybe if more people speak out, someone will finally start listening and things will begin to change. Business outside the box. People might even enjoy going to work!

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