Indulging Your Slothful Vanity: How to Come in Last in Today’s Globally Competitive Marketplace
-from The Onion, “Study Finds Working at Work Improves Productivity“
Let’s face it. A lot of us are highly skilled at finding ways to avoid boring assignments, regardless of how essential they may be. Precious time is grossly wasted on web surfing, daydreaming, coffee breaks, and wanton socializing.
Sure, we make exceptions. We’ll work our ass off into the evening and weekends for the really challenging assignments, the ones worthy of our talents. Okay, so maybe we haven’t developed a lot of talent, not yet, but someday we’ll have it, and we want those assignments now, as a prepaid reward in advance of that fine day.
And if we’ve been assigned a project management role, maybe the reason we can’t nail our butts down at our desks for more than ten minutes to do some real work is simply because we’re lazy and undisciplined, preferring to walk around sipping coffee and barking orders, while we avoid the detailed planning required for proper staffing, the establishment of priorities, and the creation of realistic budgets and schedules.
Because they make us uncomfortable, we also avoid personnel issues and just let them fester. Judging makes us uncomfortable, too. We don’t want anyone to not like us, so every year we give everybody on the team the same generic review and the same average raise, not realizing that this makes everyone not like us, rather than just the underperformers.
So, instead of really managing, we host lots of useless meetings and scurry around out on the floor, butting in and injecting our naive and meager knowledge as we futilely flail at putting out the latest fire, never realizing that those fires are ignited as a result of ignoring staffing and budgets and schedules and priorities and personnel issues.
And then we wonder why our new products are late, costly, unimpressive, and unreliable.