Wednesday 17 October 2018

Beyond The Number Game. Beyond Productivity.

I maintain a blog for alternate lifestyles. I wanted to write a piece about how we spend our days because that actually determines if we are living a fulfilling and rewarding life.

The thought crossed my mind when I read this recently:

How We Spend Our Days Is How We Spend Our Lives: Annie Dillard on Choosing Presence Over Productivity. 

“The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less.”

Interesting notes!

So, what you do daily matters, to impact your life as a whole.

Isn’t it obvious then, what you do daily impacts your business as well?

I decided to use this theme for this blog on alternate learning and earning models instead of alternate lifestyles because there is significant learning involved in adapting, adopting and accepting a life of spirit. 

If you are influenced by the current wave or model of being grandiose, number oriented and consider that to be the new reality of living a good life, doing good business - most of us are doomed already who begins to prepare or invest their efforts for that kind of productivity from life and business.

How you want to live your life is a derivative of how you think and what your aspirations are – Do you prefer the life of sensation or the life of spirit?

How different would the business economy be if organizations aim to be more purpose driven? Profits follow automatically 

How will it change lives with one’s presence - someone we are fond of is present on a special occasion – just for us? Presents are poor replacements.

In a world dominated by top ten charts, high scores, good grades, major population takes care of the to-do list on a daily basis, with horizontal strikethroughs or those small ticks that give a quick high as tasks are completed, critical calls are made, mails are sent, goals are achieved and results are produced. Evernote calendar is beaming green – the chosen color to indicate completion.

Where does all this take you?

It just takes you to the next pay check or the next enterprise or next order or just another routine day.

There is a little more to life and business than being productive.

If there is anything that can stand against the power of productivity, then it is the power of purpose. Purpose is something that is gradually gaining value and the generation that overvalued productivity is slowly beginning to realize:

a) How going fast nowhere is as good as standing still and
b) Doing a lot without any impact is just activity, unless you are driven by a purpose.

A few examples for better understanding:
  • Production is great however sale is poor, how does productivity help?
  • Sales turnover is good and profit margins are poor, does it make sense?
  • Profit margin is good however there is no growth or expansion for years, is that progress?
  • Company scales well and yet lose talent everyday as poor employers, will that not tarnish their market reputation?

The success of each and every pursuit cannot really be determined just by productivity. The success of each and every effort can definitely be assessed by the purpose it was expected to fulfill in the first place.

Relevance Today

There are training programs to assist people acquire skills. How can training programs assist people to have a strong will, when they already have the skill? One of the key components to work successfully in the will economy is to have a purpose and commitment towards that purpose.

Case Study:

This is just to establish the point further:
  1. An experienced sales representative sells 15 units in a month
  2. new hire sells 8 units
  3. A counter sales assistant just sells 2 units however both  are  breakthrough sales for new clients
  4. An average sales guy who had a recent death in his family manages to sell 4 units in his territory based through telephonic conversations with his prospects
How fair is it to qualify the one who sold 15 units as the best performer of the month without considering the different the circumstances in which the sales people were during the month?

If 1 was in 4's situation, he would probably not be able to sell anything.
If 3 was out in the field, he would probably acquire more new clients for the company
If 2 had 1's experience and time to develop leads, he would probably be selling 30 units by now in a month.

The number game has its impact on:

Burn rate at call centers
State of mind of employees that work under tremendous pressure
Struggle of first time entrepreneurs
Depression due to number game

Challenging Status Quo

The common buzz words today are “Employee well-being”, “team engagement” “Employee happiness” “Work life balance” and how exactly can we achieve any of these, if we are keeping numbers as our only deciding factor?

The reality bite is if large corporations hope to achieve any of these by reiterating the importance of high productivity again and again, rewarding people only with that particular work behavior rather than celebrate purposeful activity, our decisions are predictable and soon can be replaced by machines. If the human element is missing in our decisions, number is the god of all - big and small

If only financial perks motivate people to act and financial profits trigger entrepreneurs to perform, then there is a cost to pay which will be evident in the long run.

The surest way to drive purposeful learning or act with a purpose is to work towards outcomes, not a checklist that is not remotely connected to outcomes.