“Create a work culture that values efficiency. Don’t glorify those who work 24/7.” That very questionable advice comes from The Organized Executive, a newsletter that is normally full of sound and often very good ideas. As an example, the newsletter tells about Robert Green, CEO for Ipswich Inc., who refuses to praise employees who come in early, work late, or take work home.

Well, I don’t know enough about Ipswich to tell you how Green’s policy is going to screw things up. But I do know this: It’s impossible to grow a company without either sacrificing quality (and that will do its damage before long) or working the hell out of your good employees. I’m all for making work enjoyable.

In fact, I believe that most of life’s fun comes from working hard at something you value. But when you treat work like something nobody really wants to do, you send a very bad message — that you, yourself, don’t like to work hard. If you want your business to grow, your products to improve, your sales to increase, and your customers to be happy, this is the way to do it: Focus on goals and objectives, not time. Reward employees for accomplishments, not just actions.

When employees find it necessary to work extra hours, thank them for doing it. When you encounter employees who think the way Mr. Green does, shape them up . . . fast. (See Message #1100, “How to Deal With Poor Performers: The 30-Day Solution”.) When you encounter employees who are near burnout because they can’t delegate properly, force them to take some time off. (James Barksdale of Netscape, for example, makes his overworked employees take an office “escape day” once a month.)

Bobby Knight Is Not Only an Unforgettable Coach, He’s Also a Born Salesman Not long ago, I happened to catch an ESPN reporter interviewing college basketball coach Bobby Knight. She was trying to get Knight to squirm by running clips of TV ads that he’d done for local businesses near Texas Tech, apparently in hopes of making him look foolish. “How can a famous coach be selling insect repellent and backyard hole-drilling services?” she asked. Knight responded quickly, forcefully, and unabashedly. “That insect repellent is the best damn stuff in the world!”

And while he hasn’t had any holes dug in his yard, he added that if he needs one, “You can be sure as hell I’ll call Acme Drillers! And, who knows . . . around here, you’re liable to strike oil.” “How do you feel doing these promotions?” the interviewer asked. “They give me a script,” Knight said, “but I never use it. First, I don’t like the way most are written. And, second, I can say it better in my own words.” Sounds like Bobby Knight believes in and stands behind whatever he sells. And in my book — no matter what you think of him as a coach — that makes him a great salesman.

 

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