It’s easy to be productive when it’s just you
Or when it’s just a few of you.
But as a company grows, hires more staff, takes on bigger projects and earns more revenue, that means it’ll have to start dealing with bigger, more complex operational issues.
As a result, employees will likely make the following problem.
There’s no time to get actual work done.
Have you ever said that about your job before? Have you ever worked with someone who said that about their job?
It breaks my heart every time it comes out of somebody’s mouth. Because people really do bring it on themselves.
They think the reason they can’t get any work done is because they’re in meetings all day. Which certainly doesn’t help, but it’s more likely that people failed to adapt their productivity with the changing organization.
Einstein’s quotation comes to mind. He said that we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
The same goes for organizations. We can’t work the same way we did when the company first started. And we can’t blame the fact that things aren’t the way they used to be as the sole reason for our inability to do our job effectively.
That’s like trying to satisfy today’s hunger with yesterday’s meal.
Like trying use the same gear to reach a higher speed.
Like trying to see tomorrow with today’s eye.
You get the point.
Whatever metaphor works for you. In my experience, when you find yourself throwing your hands up to the sky and complaining about how there’s no time to get actual work done, it’s helpful to pause for a moment and unpack the pieces of that sentiment.
First of all, the idea of time.
Sorry to say, but your understanding and experience of time needs to be different now. Because your billable hour now has a different price than it used to. An hour of work at an organization of five is drastically different than an hour at a fifty or hundred person company.
Whether it’s more expensive or cheaper will differ for each person, but how each team member plans theirs days, weeks, months and quarters has to adjust so it can better align with the company’s changing priorities.
Second, the idea of actual work.
Emphasis on the word actual. Because certain tasks and projects that comprised what you used to consider actual work may no longer be a prudent use of your time. What used to pass as real work for you might not make the cut anymore.
Useful things you once spent your time on might now need to be delegated or deleted. As the company changes, so do your expectations.
Finally, the idea of done.
Big word there, done. Because in larger organizations, execution isn’t what it used to be. It can’t be. There has to be more managing and leading and less making and shipping. Of course there’s always more you can do. Of course you can work around the clock if you want to.
But as my startup founder boss used to say, at a certain point, volume and efficiency take a backseat to growth and stability.
Bottom line, there’s change for the good and change for the bad.
But although our negativity bias convinces us that all change is for the bad, we have to keep things in perspective.
Saying there’s no time to get actual work done might not be a valid complaint anymore.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you accepting the changing rhythms of your life?