It’s 8:40 a.m., Monday morning. You are supposed to be at your desk by 8:30 a.m. and you are not there yet. You are certain your manager will notice. As you hurry into the office with stress levels at an all-time high, you start thinking of excuses. You can’t be honest and tell your boss you overslept. So what will work this time? Traffic? Car trouble? The kids were not cooperating? You want to come up with something that will work and won’t draw too much attention to yourself. You decide to blame it on traffic as that fits well with being 20 minutes late. Lucky for you, your boss buys it. Whew.
Does this resonate with you? Why do people come up with these excuses? It’s simple- organizations focus on time and place and not the work. Late to work? You might hear something like “nice of you to show up today” or “I wish I could roll into the office whenever I want like you do.” Those comments are toxic and are not about the work. Comments like these, Sludge as we call them, reinforce a negative culture.
When you think about it, just showing up doesn’t mean the work will get done. Let’s take the example of the person rushing into work trying to come up with their best excuse so they can, to the best of their ability, deflect any attention that might be put on the fact that they’re “late”. Once they get past their boss, how long does it take them to focus on work? Maybe an hour? They need to calm down, take some deep breaths, and focus. The entire process shifts a person’s day from work to the unwritten cultural rules.
So, how do we fix this problem, which is a big one- present everywhere work is done? At CultureRx, we help organizations get to a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) where the conversation shifts to results not time and place. In a ROWE, the toxic language of Sludge is removed and people focus on achieving crystal clear results. Think about how much time or capacity would be freed up in organizations if Sludge were gone? Think about what can be achieved. Think about working in a better, healthier way. Think about ROWE.
In case you’re interested, we recently conducted a webinar on the topic of Sludge and how to remove it from your organization: https://gorowe.bloomfire.com/posts/468244-the-secret-to-what-s-infecting-your-workplace-and-undermining-performance/preview
To learn more about Results-Only Work Environment, visit gorowe.com
Christy Runningen can be followed on Twitter @ChristyRunn