Monday, August 27, 2007

Leadership and Value Creation - do we need Policing?

There are two kinds of organizations – the ‘daily wagers organization’, lets call them DWOs and the ‘value creators’ who we can call as VCs.

DWOs focus on clocking a fixed number of hours a day and get paid for the same. The clients of these organizations primarily seek drudgery and negotiate hard on numbers of hours put in versus rate per hour and similar outputs.

On the other side are the VCs, who work on the input – output concept. Their forte is to take a series of inputs; a mix of structured and unstructured, volunteered and extracted and so on; and give an output that cannot be measured simply by number of people X number of hours. That is, the output is a transformed version of the series of inputs.

There is a visible difference between what clients are willing to pay for services of DWOs and VCs. The likeliness to a painter vs. an interior decorator ( who ultimately might be using the same painter) is very high.

The challenge for all leaders is to convert their organizations from DWOs or perceived DWOs to VCs.

One key element that I observe which reinforces the DWO mentality in employees is ‘Policing’.

Clock in, clock out. A minimum fixed number of hours a day. Unconsciously the employee associates herself or himself to a number of hours a day at the office as against being accountable for specific outputs.

No doubt there are noble intentions of organizations to enforce the clock-in clock-out which is to capture time spent or time-sheet to invoice the end client and also ensure that employees spend time at the office. It is a different matter what happens between the clock-in and clock-out.

Compare to the scenario where a VC makes employees accountable for Output. Hey, suddenly all or any of the 24 hours of the day can be working hours!

Combine tangible deliverable or output to a deadline as a measure and you will see the difference it makes.

Employees will start to see themselves in a different light altogether; they will now be accountable for their output as against merely spending time in rote work.

Read a book called ‘The Other 90%: How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership and Life’ by Robert K Cooper ( . Robert builds on the concept that we use only about 10% of the potential of our brain. The other 90% lies vastly untapped and we can do wonders if we learn how to harness it.

In my opinion, DWOs lower the usage from 10% .

My advice to leaders is to explore ways & means to convert these into VCs – it will be worth it.



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