Activity is: movement; working on tasks; kinetic energy; being (or looking) busy; doing 'stuff'...
“Getting Results” brings to mind: meeting goals; creating value; making sales; completing projects...
Are they the same thing? NO – Results require activity – BUT – Activity does not necessarily produce Results.
To that point -
I can recall seeing an energetic guy wearing black rubber boots while waiting 3-hours for an 'about-an-hour' work on my car at a large auto repair shop. 'Boots' was in perpetual motion – heading toward the parking lot, front office, mechanic bays and elsewhere. He showed a sense of purpose and moved with great determination. But he never made it to any destination before changing course – off to a different one lickety split!
Fascinated by this constant motion, I flagged down Boots and asked what he was doing – “Keeping this place organized and working!” was his reply. Interesting; I never saw him touch a car or accomplish any task during the entire time.
When settling up for the repair, I asked the service rep about Boots and was told that he is of our most valuable employees – the guy is on the move from the time we open until we close.
In contrast, when managing a club recently, I had a server who had that perfect balance of providing attentive service without hovering. He would glide by the table filling water glasses and removing empty plates as he went – if the kitchen was slow, he'd stop be the table to let his guests know as he put down fresh bread & butter; he would check back with the table as the folks began to eat to see that everything was properly cooked and the meals were correct. This was greeted with smiles from the guests and often a supplemental order of side dishes. Of course, he offered desert and coffee after the meal.
I once overheard him asking the head of the table if she was thinking about coming back soon and offered to put in a reservation for her favorite table – Great Idea!!
In response to lagging satisfaction and declining patronage, we had set new goals of exemplary service, increased sales, and greater diner volume. This server had a grand slam getting top results for all three goals – he was a strong positive peer influence for the other servers as well.
Do you find that we reward – directly or indirectly – activity as if it creates the value of getting results?
Is Boots really perceived as a top employee for his perpetual motion rather than accomplishment? Can top notch service be delivered by disinterested servers – and – can customer service be improved without great service? Focused activity leads to achieving results.(The New Management is Leadership).
Does any of this make a difference in leading an organization in today's New Normal (When Will We Get Back to Normal)? How do you see it?
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The Mythical Man Month explains The Grave Diggers Paradox, that putting two men in a tight hole slows down the task. "Managers" tend to focus on the tasks of "managing" rather than getting work done, forgetting that the hallmark of good management is getting more work done cheaper and faster.
Why are meetings typically an hour? Because it fits the manager's calendar, not the guys doing the work. They typically work in 12 hour, 8 hour, 4 hour or ten minute tasks.
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