How many things do you do in a day simply because “it’s always been done that way”? Or because “that’s how you were taught at school/as a kid”? Hands up if you can honestly say you’ve challenged these tasks, activities, beliefs or behaviours? If yes, I would love to hear more about what you did and the outcomes you achieved. If not, you’re not alone. In fact, a large portion of people in this world are known as “drifters” – when you let external circumstances determine where you go in life. So, I pose this question then, would you rather be a drifter or high performer?
Over the years, you’ve learned a lot from the people you’ve interacted with. Some good, some bad, and both have shaped your beliefs and behaviours in how you approach life in general. Whether we realise it or not, these beliefs aren’t always working in our favour. In fact, there are times when they can actually be working against us.
Not all beliefs are created equal
Let’s get specific here. I was recently involved in a group conversation where the topic of leave was raised – that is, sick leave. We were discussing what happens within each individual’s workplace and one person raised the point it was frowned upon within their business to take a sick day either side of a weekend. In fact, more than frowned upon, it was strongly discouraged. For those unlucky enough to need a sick day during these times, a doctor’s certificate was required otherwise the leave was considered without pay. This wasn’t new to me, I’d heard of it before and had actually worked within a business years ago who had the same mentality. What I was really interested in was the impact this was having on this business and its people.
The business is a solid one – great people, values and clients. On face value, they would be a very attractive option for any potential employee or client. Like anything, though, scratch the surface and there is potential to see a whole other side. What I learned was there were some deep-rooted beliefs throughout the organisation about expectations of staff based on years and years of “old school” management experience. I’m not saying the management wasn’t good, not at all. But the legacy styles and beliefs from predecessors were outdated for the current team driving the business forward.
In particular, the belief was (because of a few bad eggs in the past) if you called in sick either side of a weekend you were obviously covering for something other than being unwell. Because of this, staff were afraid to admit they were unwell and would drag themselves into the office regardless of how sick they were. In a totalitarian state, this may seem reasonable. In a sustainable high performing organisation, this is a massive no no.
Face time does not equal productivity
In terms of productivity, this belief can have a profound effect on your team’s ability to produce. Our experience has shown most people are only about 60% as productive as they could be on any given day. Imagine then, if they are unwell (overwhelmed, rundown, burned out etc) and you are still pushing them to “show up”, where their productivity levels would be? Generally, it’s about half of what they would normally produce…that’s a lot of missed opportunity right there!
With the right people, who have the right mindset and values, the above scenario wouldn’t even register as an issue in a high performing business. If people are structured to use their energy according to their natural pace, they shouldn’t be getting sick. And when we trust our people to deliver, focusing on outcomes and performance, guess what you’ll get…results! Any sick days where people are actually sick are a result of them not managing their energy properly and can be avoided. If you are managing your energy well and efficiently, there shouldn’t be a reason to get ill. Often, people tell me they have a high performance culture, however, when you look at the sick leave records it’s more like a high burnout culture. If it were a true high performance culture, the rates of sick leave would be far lower.
So, I’ll ask again, would you rather be a drifter or high performer? If you chose the latter, I suggest getting in contact with us to discuss what beliefs could be holding your business back.