the blog Synergy

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Hours or Effort?

From the July/August issue of Worthwhile, I find this as food for thought:
What is so striking about the persistence of hours as a measurement of output is that, in today's world, what we need is exactly the opposite of the hours mentality. If our sustainable competitive advantage derives from creativity and innovation, then the last thing we want is burnt-out thinkers and leaders. Anyone who's ever done creative work knows that ideas occur anywhere, anytime --- and almost never on a schedule, in a cubicle. The best software idea I ever had came to me while driving home. I know scientists who solve equations in their sleep. There is nothing about this that is enhanced by an 80-hour week.

But mostly I think an emphasis on hours is about dominance: Managers feel powerful when they keep you from your home, your loved ones, your life. In the jealous battle that some companies wage for your loyalty, keeping you at the office presents a victory. The CEO who's determined to outwork everyone else ultimately cares more about protecting his crown than his creativity. In battles like this, everyone's lost sight of productivity. What they care about is power?

From The Hours by Margaret Heffernan, page 56-59.

What do you think?


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