Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.

Sunday, December 15, 2002  

A new book from Tom Demarco of "Peopleware" fame discusses how employees need to be cut some "slack," working at less than 100% efficiency. This, paradoxically it seems, will make them more productive. Although I have yet to read the book I have read the reviews and it makes logical sense to me. The premise is that knowledge workers, especially those in the IT industry, benefit from "non-productive" time. I agree with that. Wasn't it that bald-headed guy, Steven Covey, who identifies one of those ubiquitous seven habits is "sharpening the saw?" Do we really expect after a 40-60 hour work week that employees will take the time to learn new skills or actually stretch their minds? Hell no! They are tired and cranky and sometimes can't but see two steps ahead of them. This is one of the reasons IT departments get outsourced -- the employees get so busy doing maintenance (do more with less!) that consulting services are necessary to implement new technology. What crap. Train your own people, grow your own talent -- they ought to be the most familiar with your company's way of doing business.

BTW, I noticed in the Amazon review someone complaining that this just gives an underachieving employee another way of wasting time. I have two comments about that: #1 -- actually, I know that many underperformers can be made better. That is a management issue and one that I have dealt with several times. Yes, some people don't want to work hard. Those people eventually wash out, but motivations are not uniform, nor are the rewards people get from their work. It's a manager's job to discover the key. #2 -- I find it really, really ironic that someone claiming to write from The Land of the 35-Hour Work Week is worrying about underperformers. France is on the cutting edge of so many industries...NOT! LOL.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 12/15/2002 09:10:00 AM

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