Time is on your side (yes it is)

As I see it, some of the newest challenges for managers and business leaders are brought about by “connectedness”. yin-yang-building   Each day we become more and more connected to ‘the network’ and to each other via our devices and tools.  Being on-line no longer requires you to be at your desk with your computer.  Our cell phones, smart phones, TVs, gaming systems, and even cameras are now ‘on the net’.

With this ubiquitous connectivity the line between “work time” activities and “personal time” activities becomes increasingly  blurry and that poses a challenge to the way in which we lead.

When someone is online 12-18 hours per day we shouldn’t worry so much if they are goofing off with twitter/facebook/email/chat/browsing or if they are using those same tools for business, frankly they doing BOTH all the time.

Employees may take a few minutes during the day to watch a youtube video or view someone’s vacation photos, just as they may pop online before bed and check work email.

When I’m on Twitter I may be telling a joke or finding out about a friend’s day and I’m also learning about project management or software programming or Sun’s new product announcements.

The fact that these streams are intermingled and that we do both at the same time has to be something that we’re all ok with.

Corporate policies like “no personal email on company time” just don’t hold up in this new connected world.  The network connection is no longer a private resource but rather a pervasive service that we depend upon and expect.  If you forbid access via the corporate net they’ll bypass you with cell phones on 3G and personal devices with WiMax.

As a leader or manager you’re being judged by your employees on how you trust them.  If you’re an insecure micromanager type and need to know that you and only you are getting the employees’ thoughts and energy from 9-5, you will soon find that is ALL you’ll get from them.  Your employees won’t tolerate it for long.  That style of management is as outdated as lunch boxes and the noon lunch whistle. 

If you’re going to thrive as a leader in this connected world you must learn to accept that your employees will play during their work time just as they will work during their play time.  Give them your trust and you’ll reap the productivity rewards of their 24x7x365 connected behavior.

~ by brianherman on January 28, 2009.

One Response to “Time is on your side (yes it is)”

  1. It’s all work. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

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