Working Smarter, Not Longer (#39)

At Acceleration Partners, we put tremendous value on outcomes for our clients and our business. This is why one of our operating principals is “Work Smarter.” Here is how we define it:

“Excellence is about knowing what to do and what not to do, and finding the 80/20. We are measured by our results and our outcomes (our performance), not our inputs or time. Urgent and important are not always the same and we strive to know the difference and remain focused on outcomes.”

Yahoo CEO, Marissa Meyer has come under intense scrutiny lately for her comments about 130-hour work weeks and how she can determine the potential success of a start-up by who is there on the weekend. Meyer also made headlines a few years back for setting up a nursery at her office so that she could go right back to work after having her first child.

While I am all for working hard, I believe it’s better to work smart and be outcome-oriented. We are reaching a crisis point in the US workplace where inputs, not outcomes, are being rewarded.  Companies are celebrating individuals who put in the facetime; who login in late and work from vacation.

Think about the lawyer working at 1:00 am when their cognitive ability is severely diminished, all while billing their clients $750 an hour. Studies have clearly shown that performance and health diminishes considerably beyond 55 hours a week, especially when stress or exhaustion is present. People also need quiet time to think and be creative.

Not only is” work longer, not smarter” mentality unhealthy for the individual, it sets the foundation for a company culture that values how much time is put in as opposed to what is getting accomplished. Contrast this with the famous Netflix Culture deck, authored by culture czar, Patti McCord. It reflects why Netflix has been one of the top performing companies of the past ten years, is able to continually innovate and pivot its businesses model ahead of the market.

Their secret?  Hint: it doesn’t involve a 130-hour work week. Here’s a snippet from Netflix’s culture deck:


As they demonstrate, what matters to Netflix is results. As leaders, if you value the people who put in long hours but don’t necessary produce the best results, then you’ll reap what you sow. If you want better outcomes and results from your team, then you must recognize and reward those who work smart.

Quote of the Week

 “There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.”

Peter Drucker

Have a great weekend!

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  1. Conor Neill September 30, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    I often talk about the killers of a culture of accountability – one of the killers is allowing effort to be valued over results. You can listen to this in any company. Is it ok to tell the leaders how hard you are working, or will they only accept results and specific requests for resources…

  2. Pete Karp September 30, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    I feel you have hit on the single most important tenet of good management.

    I always tell my leadership team on any given day they will have more potential “things to do,” than they could possibly accomplish in a 24 hour period. The key is determining where their time will be most impactful. I often ask the questions:

    “Do you need to attend EVERY conference call to which you receive an invite?”

    “Before booking travel, do you ask yourself how your presence will impact the meeting?”

    In my opinion, the sign of a good leader is not how their team performs when they are steering the ship, but how the boat floats when they are on vacation.

    Playing golf on Monday and then headed to Napa for a 4 day vacation . . . Hope my team holds it together . . .

    Let me know if you group now pivots to a 20 hour work week?

    Happy Friday!

  3. Suzanne Sholer September 30, 2016 at 4:18 pm

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