As an entrepreneur, I am fascinated by people who have a paid job. I went to the dark side and had permanent, pensionable job for four years. Loved it. A regular salary and not having to chase the next contract. It was comfortable. And then it started to niggle, I wanted to be an example for my kids and I realised that Hence Bookbuzz and Smallbusinesscan.
Entrepreneurship is the future
freedom and passion beat nearly any job.My standard advice to every employee is to consider entrepreneurship. If you want to be anti-fragile in the labour market of the future, you will have to.
Hacking your work
The next back thing is for you to take some lessons from “Hacking work”, which is about reinventing your work. There are a lot of interesting books about work, the meaning of work, controlling your own destiny and all that. Even the Dalai Lama wrote a book about happiness at work.
Why is that important? There is a strong economic rationale behind being happy at work. Happy workers are 10-25% more effective (from “Emotionomics”).
Being out of control whilst trying to be in control
“Hacking work” is about organisations being out of control whilst trying to be in control. Corporate big brother. The problem is that Big Brother uses outdated systems that are no longer relevant. It does not allow for meaningful dialogue with your staff, let alone with your customers. It does not allow to do great work (as distinct from mediocre work).
“Hacking work” preaches quiet revolution. Personnel taking control back, creating their your own systems and ensuring their personal return on investment as well as the ROI of the business.
As CEO or owner manager you should take note. The power is shifting towards the workers (Marx is back!). If you don’t allow for this revolution in your workplace, your competitor will. With the consequent a negative impact on staff and customer retention.
A few tips for CEOs:
- Presume all your workers have ADD (attention deficit disorder). Actually presume your customer you have the same disorder.
- Give your staff a few hours a week to spend on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc..
- Embrace a policy of radical transparency
- Engage in dialogue with you staff (using social media the same way you would use for dialogue with customers).
Or consider adapting to a Results Only Work Environment
I bet that a lot of you go to work and give everything you have. And I bet you are treated like children who, if left unattended, will steal candy.
You go to work and watch someone who isn’t very good at their job get promoted because they got in earlier and stayed later than anyone else.
You go to work and sit through overlong, overstaffed meetings to talk about the next overlong, overstaffed meeting. You see talented, competent, productive people get penalised for having kids, for not being good at office politics, for being a little different.
Ditch the mindset
If any of this resonates with you, then you are by definition an employee – and the organisation you work for holds outdated beliefs about work based on assumptions that do not apply in today’s 24/7 economy.
This is the message in “Why Work Sucks – and how to fix it” by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, who claim that there has to be a better way. This better way is only possible when we change our focus from hours to outcomes, when we ditch our traditional Monday through Friday, 9-5 mindset. The 40-hour work week, say the authors, is outdated and outmoded.
The authors developed a radical workplace experiment known as ROWE – Results-Only Work Environment, where you control when, where, and how long you work. As long as you meet your objectives, the way you spend your time is entirely up to you. Work is no longer a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. ROWE has no mandatory meetings or fixed schedules, you stop doing any activity that wastes time, no one criticizes you for “leaving early” or “coming in late,” and if you do your best work at midnight or on Sundays, that’s fine.
Guerrilla HR bomb throwers
In case you are tempted to regard ROWE as a utopian fantasy, be aware that it is already a reality at the Minneapolis headquarters of consumer electronics chain Best Buy.
According to the authors, ROWE not only makes employees happier, but also delivers better results. Businessweek describes the authors as guerrilla HR bomb throwers. Intuitively, the idea of treating employees like grown-ups sounds great.
After all, entrepreneurs, freelancers and salespeople already use ROWE principles in their work. No one can seriously doubt that an incredible amount of time and energy is wasted at work.
At least consider to be an entrepreneur at work. You will be happier.
Let us know what you think. Tweet @smallBC, use #hackwork