We at CEEK adhere to the Three W’s of Integrity—Worth, Word, and Wholeness. Last month, we challenged you to honor you Word, promoting organizational accountability. It is difficult to honor your word and follow through on commitments if you and your colleagues are bursting at the seams. This month, we challenge leaders to set the foundation for a culture of integrity as we tackle the third of the Three W’s—honor your wholeness. If you or your staff persistently lack balance, you are fractured or broken. You are not whole.
Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, contends that balance is the key to effectiveness. He defined the seventh (and most important) habit as Sharpen the Saw. This is a metaphor for preserving, refreshing, and enhancing your physical, spiritual, mental, and social/emotional well-being. Just like pausing to sharpen the saw can greatly enhance the productivity of the lumberjack, so too can pausing to enhance balance, productivity, and morale in your organization.
A wealth of case studies and analyses reinforce Dr. Covey’s insights. Organizations that promote and support healthy balance practices report higher engagement and trust. They enhance productivity, improve morale, reduce absenteeism, and lower turnover. More importantly, organizations that empower their employees to manage the tension of healthy balance greatly reduce their susceptibility to other, more serious, lapses of integrity.
This month we challenge leaders to set the foundation for a culture of integrity. Reassess if, and how, you and the organization promote and empower employees to pursue healthy balance. Beyond traditional work/life balance policies offered within the organization, we encourage you to consider and embrace the following as part of your team or organizational culture.
1. Work Harder, Not Longer
You’ve heard the saying, “work smarter, not harder.” Of course it makes sense to work smarter; however, the cliché seems to dismiss the value of hard work. As a leader, we should encourage smart and hard work. Unfortunately, we tend to equate working harder with working longer. If Employee 1 produces 100 widgets in eight hours while Employee 2 produces 100 widgets in twelve hours, Employee 1 is likely working smarter and harder. Encourage and maximize productivity per unit of time as opposed to productivity regardless of time.
2. Reward Outputs Per Inputs (in Lieu of Inputs or Outputs Alone)
We encourage you to revisit reward systems that you employ. Remember: That which we reward, we replicate. If Employee 2 in the previous example produced 105 widgets in 12 hours, should we reward that employee for five additional units of productivity? No. Unfortunately, most organizations reward Outputs (Productivity) regardless of consideration of Inputs (Time). Worse, some organizations simply reward Inputs (Time) without consideration of actual Outputs. Employees soon learn to replicate the behaviors of less efficient colleagues who simply work longer. The cycle continues until stress, anxiety, and burnout overwhelm the organization.
3. Reassess Supply and Demand
As a leader, it is important to periodically consider the foundational economic principles of supply and demand. Does the productivity demanded of your team consistently exceed the productivity supply? The answer is often revealed through unmet commitments or a failure to Honor One’s Word. If that is a pervasive problem in the organization, it is time to reduce the demand and/or increase supply. You reduce demand by prioritizing work and taking less important tasks (demands) off the plate for overburdened members of your team. Alternatively, you can engage new staff (supply) and further distribute work demands. Consider and reassess the balance of supply and demand within your team.
As a leader in your organization, recognize that you can shape the conditions that make balance more readily attainable. If you would like to further equip your team with the tools to pursue balance and maximize productivity, consider gifting a copy of Navigate Chaos. Empower your team to Honor their Wholeness. Promote a culture of integrity and CEEK a Better Way®!