Last night a colleague mentioned there are two ways to motivate a team:
- Unreasonable deadlines
- A mortal enemy
This is true. These are definitely ways to get the troops in line. In
fact, after two glasses of red wine, I was staring at these two options
thinking, "This might solve my hard problem." My hard problem
is that Fridays have died at THE COMPANY. I’ll explain.
the CEO telecommutes from Chicago and is not here on Fridays as he’s on
his way back to Chicago. The trickle down effect means that our VP of
SALES isn’t here either. The precedent which is now set essentially gives
ANYONE in the company the right to "work at home" on Friday.
The ability to actually work while working at home is a rare one. I’ve
tried it. Doesn’t work. Too many toys at home to distract me. I’ve watched
others try it, too… doesn’t work for them for a variety of reasons.
There are people who are very good at working at home, but these tend
to be the HYPERFOCUSABLE types who are also great assembly programmers.
Back to Fridays. The added benefit of these "work at home"
Fridays is that the folks who actually make it in are distinctly aware
of the folks who aren’t there which means they’re liable to slack or leave
early. My rough estimate is that we’re losing roughly 20% of our productivity
because Fridays have died.
Dead Fridays are truly only a symptom of a larger problem. THE COMPANY,
like many small-ish start-ups who’ve made it this far, is basically waiting
for other big companies to start buying software again. Few, if any, sales
are coming in, so THE COMPANY has focused on getting the expenses under
control, going through three layoffs, scrambling to get additional funding,
At the end of this waiting period there are two options. Either, become
successful or die. I would argue the death of Fridays is a preliminary
indication that others believe the die scenario is inevitable which means
that the problem which actually needs to be solved is "belief that
THE COMPANY will be successful".
If this is true, neither of the strategies above will work because both
assume that an employee has something he/she is a) willing to work hard
for (ie: unreasonable deadlines) or b) willing to defend (ie: against
a mortal enemy).