Preserving Your Resources
While there are many tasks to be managed, those tasks must be managed by people. People are our greatest resource. Computers are great for number crunching and developing cool graphics. People are the source of all the intelligence that goes into the computer and the source of the analysis of data that comes out of the computer.
Since people are our greatest resource, we need to do what we can to preserve those resources. Increasingly I am talking to people who are working insane overtime hours and receiving little if any recognition. These people would leave their jobs today if another offer presented itself. Though not all are actively seeking offers from other companies, some are.
Think about it this way, if your team members were batteries, would you be treating them as rechargeable or disposable? Clearly, everyone would answer this “rechargeable”, but do our actions reflect our answer?
When rechargeable batteries run low on power, we know they need time on the recharging station before they can be effective again. We know that just charging for five minutes may get us through a bind, but to get full function from our device we need to allow the batteries to recharge fully.
We even limit functions we use while the batteries are low. Why? Because with precious few bars of power showing, we want keep that power in reserve just in case we need something really important. No games will be played, no pointless internet searches will be done, and certainly unimportant phone calls will be cut short for fear of our battery dying an untimely death.
It’s amazing that we sometimes don’t treat our team members with the same reverence we show our electronic devices. We use people until they are drained of all power, and instead of giving them the chance to recharge, we demand even more. We ask them to perform fully after only a fraction of the required charging time. We may even suggest that if they just give us all they have and more now, that we will give them extra charging time later, yet later seldom comes. Could you make that bargain with your batteries?
Since people are our greatest resource, it is in our best interest to see the warning signs before they become help wanted signs.
Stop and evaluate what work really needs to be done that requires so much overtime. Fear of reprimand or termination are powerful motivators to get people to work a lot of overtime, but not one that will actually be effective over a long term. Money, recognition, and praise are better motivators to get people to work a lot of overtime and these will work over a longer period of time. The truth, however, is that no motivator will keep someone working so much overtime continuously and at the performance level we desire.
It’s ironic that this work study area is called Human Performance, yet we so often forget our teams are human. We drive them like machines, even though we don’t give the same attention to our human recharging that we do our electronic recharging. Many people I know put their phone on a charger every night. When was the last time you did something to recharge the battery of your team member?