Why are we so attached to equating value to “time-served”? Being punctual and attentive during a worthless meeting still leaves you no closer to what really matters – RESULTS. We evaluate and are evaluated on the basis of results – lets manage to them rather than endless activity.
When you set out on a new path, take on a new project, or set a new strategic direction do you manage activities or results?
It’s so much easier to manage to activities, its so much more effective to manage to results. I see this all the time in my consulting work, crazy as it sounds some customers are more comfortable paying me based on “time-served” vs. value provided. I’m of the belief that time-served is a horrible way to structure a business relationship, just as it is a horrible structure of criminal punishment (which is a whole different conversation).
Time served (days or hours of contribution) or meetings attended are managing to activities rather than results. If we partnered to get your print business online, after six months how are you going to evaluate the partnership? I doubt you’re going to count how many meetings I attended, what e-mails I sent, etc… You’re going to look at results. You’re going to compare where you were before the engagement and where you are today (post engagement).
If we evaluate success based on results why do manage to activities?
I think we all feel more comfortable in the realm of activities. You pay me an agreed upon amount to deliver an agreed amount of time. I don’t believe in the time served business relationship anymore. I think both sides of the equation lose. Value created is all that matters, if it takes one person 10 minutes and the other 10 hours to create the same amount of value, I’m willing to pay a lot more for the individual who delivers faster.
What frustrates me the most about activity based management – those individuals who are fanatical about the activities and have completely lost site of the overall goal. As Ambrose Bierce wrote in the Devil’s Dictionary, “Fanaticism is redoubling your efforts, after your aim has been forgotten.” You know who I’m talking about, those folks who insist on daily meetings when they are a complete waste of time or those folks who misjudge “effectiveness” by how fast you respond to e-mail.
Remember activities do not necessarily equate to results and the one thing we all have in common, when we look back to evaluate or be evaluated – its all on results. Don’t let activities get in the way of results.