Today’s Economy is Rewarding Ideas, Art, Innovation, Deep-Thinking and Daring… Can You Make the Change?

It couldn’t have come at a moment too soon for a world economy faltering (definitely including Japan’s too) that the time has come for the economy to start rewarding people for having initiative and new ideas.

The old order of putting in long hours and sacrificing family life (and the time for truly living like a real human being and spending time with the family while attending to their needs) for work is coming to an end. The days of long hours of work in order to be “productive” (or what was confused as “productive”) and actually achieving very little have fallen by the wayside.

What I mean by that is people are starting to figure out that just sitting at the office and spending time (because everyone else is doing it) is no longer the norm. Working smart and working efficiently so that when you are working you are focused and incredibly productive is the new norm.

Last night, I received this from Seth Godin and really thought that we are on the exact same plane in this way of thinking:

But bravery does.

The challenge of work-life balance is a relatively new one, and it is an artifact of a world where you get paid for showing up, paid for hours spent, paid for working.

In that world, it’s clearly an advantage to have a team that spends more time than the competition. One way to get ahead as a freelancer or a factory worker of any kind (even a consultant at Deloitte) was simply to put in more hours. After all, that made you more productive, if we define productivity as output per dollar spent.

But people have discovered that after hour 24, there are no more hours left. Suddenly, you can’t get ahead by outworking the other guy, because both of you are already working as hard as Newtonian physics will permit.

Like I mentioned, the old order of putting in long hours to try to beat the competition are over. Do you really think you can do more and work longer and cheaper than a factory worker in China? Or an illegal immigrant from South America? I’ve written on this subject before. In that article, a world-famous chef was giving me advice on work and survival of the fittest. Please refer to: Quality Over Quantity, Especially as You Get Older. the chef told me:

“Mike, as you get older, you must always be concerned with these costs, but you must mostly be concerned with having your name associated with quality. When we are young, there are many in our same field of work. But as we get older, the field of people doing our job narrows down to just a few…”

“That’s is why, Mike, as you get older, you must concentrate on quality and delivering the best. If you decide to concentrate on quantity, you will lose. Because when it comes to a quantity issue, then you start dealing with lower quality… You will not be able to beat a younger competitor… You will not be able to beat a McDonald’s.”

It is no longer useful, nor should it be acceptable, for someone to be sitting at the office basically watching the clock and accomplishing nothing. THat person needs to break the mold and get outside and see the real world, get real world experiences, see how the real world works and spend time with family to reattach their minds with how normal people live. These workers needs to reattach to what normal people think and what they want. They need to get out of their box.

Several months ago, I was out on a sales call with a salesman in my company. He is a very hard worker and a great salesman. I want to keep him and worry about him as my company does not yet pay him what he worth. When I met him for the sales call he looked completely exhausted. The night before he had been out with clients and didn’t arrive home until 3:00 am. That happens a lot for salesmen in Japan. We went to our meeting and, after one hour, it ended. As we walked to the station I asked him where he was then headed. He answered;

“Back to the office.”

“Do you have more meetings or urgent matters to attend to?” I asked. He answered in the negative but added,

“I have to go back to the office because everyone is still there.”

I told him that it was ridiculous for him to do so and that doing so was actually counterproductive as he’d be still tired tomorrow (in Japanese it’s called, 効率が悪い “koritsu warui” – something like results are inefficient”). I told him that we don’t do things that way and instead of falling asleep at his desk, I’d prefer that when he is at work he is doing a great job and being efficient. I sent him home.

The new economy – for you and me at least – is not going to be “process oriented” (we won’t beat the Chinese and Indonesians for that) but it is going to be “results oriented.” Sitting at a desk for 12 hours a day being inefficient is a waste of everyone’s time. Using your work time efficiently and effectively is the future – your future.

Doing a good 5 hours of work a day and actually getting something great done beats 14 hours of plodding along.

Can you make the change?