Is the clock still king?

Writing about remote work yesterday got me thinking about leave policies in general. I’ve read recently about boutique and tech start-ups that have no defined leave policy and it really resonates with me. My assumption is that in many knowledge work oriented professions that if you are smart enough to work there, you are smart enough to figure out when you should be there. I understand that this may not be a scalable model, although I believe that some pretty large companies including several big game makers have gone this route. The idea resonates with me because one of the things I’ve always hated and tried not to be is a time clock boss. I assume that people are responsible enough to get things done until proven otherwise.

Sometimes in our business things get hectic for a few weeks and the expectation is that people will rise to the occasion and help us meet the deadline, etc. On the other hand, there are times where things are a little looser and I don’t ever get mad if someone is a little late coming in or a little early leaving. I assume that they must not have something they need to get done. On some level I think the idea of paying for time is old fashioned and tends toward managing what we can measure rather than what matters. Even if you are working an assembly line, wouldn’t it be more effective to manage or measure around quality and completion rather than simply time spent on the line?

The bottom line is that time spent on something is probably the poorest means of measuring its value. I won’t lie; I’ve given plenty of thick binders to clients at the end of engagements. However, this only happens when I’ve felt I’m being measured by output and not by outcomes. I always feel a little bit bad about it because it reflects a failing on my part to convince them of what really matters. Essentially, this means I had to punt and convince the client that because we did a lot of work they got great value. This is a clear failure on our part to ensure the client understands the value of the outcome we are delivering. I’m curious of what others think on this topic. Do you feel your boss measures you more on perception of effort rather than results? Have you tailored your delivery to meet these expectations? I think that a lot of people put effort into developing fluff because it represents more, which is perceived to be reflective of their effort which is what is valued rather than putting in the time to build concise value.

© Photo Copyright Chris Downer

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply