While talking with my brother Len recently he made the following observation / posed the following question “While freeing kid’s form issues of mechanics means they can create more, are they creating a greater quality of work, or do they simply just have more time on their hands?” His question struck me.
While talking with a client recently he mentioned that when they instituted cell phones as a technology to help improve communications on jobs and cut down on the amount of time spent trying to do downloads at the end of the day, the number of personal text messages skyrocketed the next month. The question here is when the employees had more time did they simply idle that time away or were they asked to come up with ways to better solve other problems?
I often say that when we automate and systematize processes and procedures and use technology to better handle the mechanics and mundane tasks we face on a daily basis that it leaves more time for creativity. It leaves more time for solving bigger problems. The question is, as leaders do we actually ask our staff and teammates to be more creative and innovative with their time when we’ve instituted that technology?
Technology serves in helping us get data more quickly, but the tool in and by itself is benign. The more important question to ask is how we use that data to better solve problems or issues. This is a cultural issue, and empowering employees to think differently in the workplace starts with what we as leaders ask of them.
So this has all left me wondering – what are the bigger questions we can be asking our people in order to have them help solve the bigger problems or issues we face in our companies? It is a proven fact that a key driver for employee satisfaction on a job is to feel a sense of contribution and value in the work they do. Isn’t asking them to be part of a bigger solution actually helping to achieve that? What are we doing to light fires in people?
Your input on this topic is encouraged – what do you think?
Make it an extraordinary day!