Are you running your company by a time clock?

Time clocks are synonymous with the industrial revolution. Prior to industrial work, people thought of time as more cyclical. Time clocks went hand in hand with factory or machine and assembly line work. The concept of a “Time clock” is an oxymoron. Aren’t all clocks, time clocks? The industrial revolution was a period when brawn became more valued over brains. It was more important to measure the amount of time that a person worked (and this was equated with productivity and quantity) then the quality or creativity of their work. The information age and knowledge age has reportedly ushered in a quantum change in how we view and value work. Today, creativity and innovation have become highly prized, at least in word if not in deed.

One hears today that quality, creativity and innovation are the cornerstones of success in the 21st century business world. Nevertheless, we still see managers who seem more concerned with the time clock as a measure of productivity than anything else. How long did you work today is often seen as more important than how much you accomplished or what new ideas and innovations you could come up with. We talk about allowing workers to telecommute, yet many managers express the view that: “how will I know what they are doing or if they are really working?” “Well, perhaps they will not get their job done and then you would know!” We may live in the knowledge age, but the industrial era mindset is still dominant in many workplaces.

It often takes a generation before minds catch up with new technology and paradigm shifts. We have 21st century needs and technology still driven by 20th century minds and concerns. Companies that cannot make the change are destined to go the way of the dinosaur. The same might be said for managers who cannot change their mindset.

What do you value in your workplace? Do you measure how much your employees contribute, including ideas and innovations or are you measuring how long they work and how many hours they put in? Do you have the power to change things? If so, when will you go from the 20th century to the 21st? When will you start treating your employees like knowledge workers rather than machines?

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