Stop Glorifying Busyness, Start Celebrating Results
A culture of busyness is not the key to success; it is the pathway to irrelevance, inefficiency, and failure.
A culture of busyness causes employees to find unrelated tasks to complete while not placing emphasis on activities that add value. A culture of busyness leads to an unfocused organization that lacks awareness of what it needs to do to be successful. And in many organizations today, a culture of busyness is seen as a badge of honor.
Having the opportunity to broadcast how much you have going on causes others to look at you with a level of admiration, while simultaneously pushing them to employ similar behavior. Everyone wants to be seen as someone who has endless responsibilities and is engaged with multiple activities. Yet quite often, it is unrelated to them producing results.
When looking at the situation from a different lens, what do these people actually accomplish? What value are they adding? Where have they improved the company? And most important, what is the reward for being involved in numerous endeavors versus actually producing results?
Many employees who are in constant motion are the most overrated associates in the organization because they fail to produce any tangible value. Being busy isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the inability to recognize what is important can be devastating.
Just like in sports, it isn’t the team that is the busiest that wins, but rather, the one who produces the best results. For example, in basketball, it isn’t the team that shoots the most shots that is the winner, but the one that scores the most points. In football, having more yards than the opposition can be valuable, but yards don’t matter unless the team gets in the end zone. And in baseball, having more hits than the opposition is great, but if the hits don’t translate into runs, they aren’t worth anything.
The same is true in business. Instead of placing prominence on functional activities that generate monetary gain, we emphasize areas that lack relative importance yet keep people busy. It is great to be busy, but if busy doesn’t create value, it doesn’t matter.
Stop validating people who are the loudest in the room but produce the least. Stop commending those who consistently deliver sweeping declarations about what they are going to do, yet fail to create substantial value. And stop giving credit to individuals who provide rousing ideas yet never actually follow through. Action is more important than words and execution is better than ideas.
This seems straightforward, but it is continually lost on people and organizations. A lot of companies have employees operating under the belief that they need to be in a constant state of motion to be important and have witnessed many of their colleagues be rewarded according to this premise. So, meetings are scheduled for matters that could have been handled by email, people include themselves in projects when there is no viable reason for their involvement, and individuals prioritize extracurricular activities over traditional work for interest in bolstering their personal brand.
Rather than encouraging this inferior approach by continually glorifying workers who are busy, celebrate employees who produce results. Taking importance away from the incessant need to be in motion and replacing it with an emphasis on producing results creates a transformational change in the way business is performed. Colleagues will strive to execute at the highest levels instead of merely passing time by performing their responsibilities and hoping to be recognized by leaders. This shift highlights those who are making a difference and exposes employees who hide behind a mask of busyness.
To be successful, stop confusing the value of busyness and start placing emphasis on delivering results.