Author Archives: Paul LaRue
Back in 2011, an article in The Wall Street Journal talked about achieving a level called “work-work balance”.
The writer laid out the possibility of a proper balance in the workplace to allow for innovation, thereby achieving the harmony of “main work duties with more experimental side projects”.
However, I believe there should be a different application to the term “work-work balance”. That is:
How does an organization achieve harmony and equilibrium in the ability to have the right mix of strategy and initiatives versus the actual work needing to be done and people there are do accomplish it?Tweet
That goal is a constant daily struggle for employees as well as leaders in any company, yet it needs to be thought of and worked into strategic planning and culture.
When the work-work balance is off, companies either overwork their people which leads to job hacks and eventually disengagement, or stay stagnant and their people’s skills deteriorate through lack of stretching or utilization of their talents.
A proper equilibrium in the work-work cycle is having the right strategic plan in place through the current workforce to enable the company and everyone in it to stretch and grow. And when the initiatives get 1 or 2 steps ahead or behind, then the culture of the organization should kick into action to either lay off the speed, or augment the current workforce and workflow, or push some of the secondary plans ahead that weren’t mission critical at the time.
Companies that get too far ahead of themselves become “top heavy” with pushing ahead and will eventually soon stumble. Those that find their pace has slowed down will find it harder to maintain speed and agility, and their employees will usually be a step behind that pace as well.
Leaders should thoughtfully observe their work-work harmony both in the long-term planning and the short-term tasks that run the organization. Balance might not be constantly attained, but the ability to step it up or lay it back when needed is crucial for keeping as consistent a momentum in your goals and mission.
What are some ways you can help your organization achieve a “work-work balance”?Tweet
In Michael Lee Stallard’s book “Connection Culture“, he alludes to three types of organizational culture.
Those cultures are: control, indifference and connection. Here’s my thoughts on each one:
Control based cultures are where the demand for task excellence is preeminent. Micromanaging at any scale persists. And the fear of reprimand, performance improvement plans, demotion or job loss exists in perpetuity. People are not valued in these companies, but rather commoditized.
Cultures of indifference are where the voice of the employee is disregarded. Open door policies are mere semantics, or great for attracting angel investors money into the company. Employee concerns are countered with directives to figure it out or work harder. Changes are not made from the voice of those who don’t have the degree or level of knowledge to offer any valuable input.
Connected cultures are different. These companies ascribe not only a high value on their people (for real and not for show) but also allow their voice to be heard, and a part of the process. But even more, a connected culture shares a strong vision with all employees. It’s not sufficient to be first in a market, to merely win, but to have a strong enough shared vision that enriches both monetarily and communally with everyone as to what the impact of the organization will have for the improvement of all involved, customer, leadership, employees and community.
Connected cultures serve the vision, value and voice of their people first, knowing that the investment in created connected individuals and teams far surpasses any task excellence and superior performance metrics.
The demand for high performance only lasts as long as the motivational fear can carry the spirit of their people. But the organization that has a deep connection culture will always persist and find success in the best and worst of times. Connected people are statistically more committed and productive versus those people in companies that are driven to be committed and productive.
Are you fostering a culture of control, indifference or connection? The choice is up to you. As well as the results from that culture as well.
A number of studies in the last few years have similarly shown that companies that consistently spend across all levels to develop their people reap the following benefits:
- Deeper and more engaged employees – employees deeply engaged due to proper training are 200%+ more productive than disengaged employees without aligned training
- Higher productivity – sometimes up to 10% more productive
- Better profitability – consistently 24% better profits
- Higher employee retention – companies that have proper training see less than 40% turnover in an employee’s first year
Many companies claim to have a great company wide training program, when actually very few do. Which explains why 69% of employees are actively seeking new employment opportunities for companies that will properly train and develop them.
Companies that shortchange their training will misfire on keeping their best and most valuable resources – people. These statistics prove it.
Where companies fall short are in varying areas, depending on the culture and focus of the organization. Here are some of the myths, or excuses, of why training is shortchanged:
- Training should be done in the course of work, so no other expenditure of resources other than the initial orientation is needed
- Employees that figure it out themselves are the peak performers we want, so not focusing on training will create the environment for peak performers to develop and stand out
- Senior leadership should get the bulk of the training dollars because they are the ones who can make the biggest impact
- There is no time to train, we are busy and have to focus on the job at hand
- What if we train them and they leave?
- If we spend money in training, the employees will want more money
- We can train cheaper in house, or leverage technology to do it for us
- It takes too much time to develop people, we can’t afford to get them out of their roles
All of these just exemplify the real rationale: these organizations value something else other than training. They value the short-term opportunity cost of savings of money and time over the long-term benefits of growth, enhanced culture, and positive impact in their industry.
Businesses are made up of people. Therefore, business IS people. And in order for businesses to grow, people must grow. That’s where the truth of this quote comes from:
“You don’t build a business. You build people – and then the people build the business.” – Zig Ziglar
Training never comes back void, as long as it’s done with purpose and with an attitude to serve and grow each member of the team.
Focus on training every day. It never stops, because business never stops. Unless your people stop growing.