Sludge at Work

Preparing to sling sludgeIf you haven’t heard of CultureRx, it’s worth a peek.

This consultancy, which came out of Best Buy, works to put focus on the results of work efforts for professionals instead of measuring the sum of hours that are spent by employees in the trenches. Called “ROWE” for Results-Only Work Effort, this group is evangelizing the idea of accountability for deliverables and not simple celebration of the endless hours logged at the office.

One of their maiden blog entries is on the idea of “Sludge“, or the garble that comes out of people’s mouths when they feel they are getting less privillege or special treatment than others. “Sludge” is all the whining about extra breaks for smokers, time-off for parents, and special treatment for those that need it.

I am really taken with the vision of being treated like an adult, working in a setting where management actually takes responsibility for defining deliverables. Not hours to be logged, not the font size on TPS report covers, not weekly report instructions detailing hours at the water cooler.

Deliverables. Autonomous, accountable, and held to a standard. Hmm.
It should get pretty clear whether or not you find purpose in your work if your deliverables are explicit, no? I also like the idea that those things I value – collaboration, mentoring, leadership – are forced to be valued by senior management since they are less likely observed in some implicit way. Clear the halls of corporate america and let people simply deliver their work product, and it would be interesting to see how that corporation functions.

Could this be a possible view into a future world of defined accountability? What might be accomplished in such a setting, with real transparency around scope?

This entry was posted in Accountability, Autonomy, Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

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