March 7, 2013
Staff Picks: Why Managing Sucks (and How to Fix It)
#5 ... Work isn't a place you go; it's something you do. #13 ... There is no judgment about how you spend your time.When I read admonition like this, I automatically think, "Of course! This is excellent advice." After all, an organization's expenses and revenue are related to the results of their people's work, not so much the time devoted to a specific job. I also know that ROWEs are a rarity in the professional world, despite the seeming trend toward more 'flexible' work arrangements. But as this book states early on, there is a significant difference between an organization with flexible scheduling and a ROWE.
...flexible schedule is an oxymoron. By definition, there's nothing flexible about a schedule. A ROWE gives each and every person complete control over their time, and not just some of it—all of it.Managers might be hesitant to even entertain completely handing over control of employees' time, and with good reason. Managing a ROWE is quite different from managing employee time and trying to figure out whether or not any or all of that time was well-spent or crucial to the organization's what. But as Thompson and Ressler underscore in chapter 2, "Motivate Me", there is intrinsic motivation for employees who are free to work when and how they prefer, and this is motivation that is otherwise hard-earned (or never earned) through more 'traditional' management means, whether it's higher salary or other time-intensive activities that neither managers nor their staff enjoy. From a management perspective, the ROWE concept reduces to one essential idea (even more essential than results): respect. Transforming your workplace to a ROWE will present an injection of respect between employees and their managers, and also between all staff and the work they're accomplishing. A common response to ideas like ROWE would be, "Well that's nice, but in the real world, we can't all just show up whenever we please." Though apathetic, there is some truth to this response. Maybe you're a middle-manager who'd love to transform your workplace into a ROWE, but your manager (and her manager) won't consider it. Early in the book, the authors say, "You're either a ROWE, or you're not. Period." Perhaps, but if you're aspiring toward bringing more respect to your relationships with your staff, Why Managing Sucks might still be your answer, regardless of whether or not you can go all-out ROWE. Whatever you call your new management program, you're going to learn some important things about how to motivate your employees and how to shift focus from time spent to results.
Michael Jantz oversees “special projects,” a task that corrals any number of imaginable alterations and re-imaginings of the umpteen books 800-CEO-READ so gracefully sells day after day. But never content with the appellations of the common workplace, Michael also now enjoys exploring other avenues of 800-CEO-READ’s enterprise, including reading, writing, design, and lively conversations with those writers whose books the company sells. It is a happy time for Michael, whose love of books and good company has found 800-CEO-READ's office and philosophy to be like nutrient-rich compost to his hungry, burrowing roots.