I have this old English saying on the wall in my office. Makes me chuckle. My family picked it up for me a few months ago.
I am thinking of replacing it with a better saying that I heard:
DO WORK THAT MATTERS
Don’t just carry on. Think. Change something. Innovate. At the sales leadership conference there were many different conversations about doing things differently. About how new technologies and business methods present opportunities to innovate.
A big theme was online assets, how to use new technologies such as social media and the internet to increase productivity and the likelihood of success. One such company, Jive Software, talked about how their social media products help people connect to others and information faster (the consumerization of enterprise IT).
What was interesting is that while the discussion continued, invariably someone asked the question that I have heard many times before:
‘Are you not worried about the internet and it distracting people from doing real work?’.
That had actually been a big debate the night before at a speakers dinner (again, centered around the Internet, and whether or not social media is of value to business (e.g. Twitter, etc)). I had the opportunity to share my perspective:
- Work isn’t the same as it was in the 70’s. I remember my Dad coming home with a briefcase and it didn’t open. Work didn’t follow him. He didn’t have a Blackberry to answer emails around the clock, and all weekend long. If there was an emergency, he didn’t have a cell phone with him to take a call. They reached him if he happened to be home. Work is different. I personally try not to send emails on the weekend, because if I do people will answer them. And if they are answering them, when do they rest? People need to unplug, to recharge, to open their minds and clear the clutter so that they can make room for new thoughts.
- The notion of a workday for most professionals no longer exists. How many people check their email one last time before bed? Which is why, the notion of restricting what they do at work seems unfair. Sure, someone who is surfing to inappropriate websites or spending all their time updating their Facebook page needs to be addressed. But for someone who takes a break and does something on the net, is that bad? I don’t think so. HBR suggests that we need to encourage our employees to take a break. In a blog last week, it was suggested that companies should make their employees nap! An old boss of mine use to say ‘Great salespeople go see movies’. In other words, people need a break from the stress of the job (especially sales). After all, if they are watching too many movies or surfing the net too often, there is a simple way to figure that out … it is called the month end sales number.
And last, one of the speakers made a great point about today’s employees. He said that it isn’t the internet that he is worried about, it is email. In today’s society, there is so much noise from email, and all of the other forms of communication that people get that feeling of instant gratification when they react. But the question must be asked, is that productive or is it just ‘busy work’?
People must avoid the sense of accomplishment from just being busy. It is so much harder, but ultimately more rewarding when you are doing WORK THAT MATTERS.