Micromanage
My spaceship workstation
My spaceship workstation, and yes, that’s an RC helicopter

I finally put together a standing desk with a bunch of help from Jon, over at Business Casual. So far, I’m still pretty pumped about it. To date, I’ve spent 32 hours(!) standing at it (8 hours per day for 4 days). I’m sure that people are flinching at reading that, assuming anyone is reading that, but I like it. I have a problem with sitting down all day. As ideas enter my mind, I find it difficult to sort through them while being still, I’ve always been this way. Now I find myself staying late, coming in early, just plain excited to stand at my space ship and come up with pure gold*.

Back when I worked at Claims Compensation Bureau full time, I used to “joke” that I should be paid to go on my lunch walk. But really, there was some amount of truth to that statement. Whenever I was faced with a difficult process, or a problem involving many moving parts, I would go on a walk. And 9 times out of 10, I would come back with an elegant solution, which I would then excitedly try to implement while sitting down.

I started thinking, why do I feel this sudden surge of energy and motivation. One reason, I suspect, is control. Before you think, oh, a control freak, think about this. Each and every one of us has a need to be able to control SOMETHING in our life. This is a basic need that prevents us from succumbing to that “spiraling out of control” feeling. By building my own workspace, how I want it, with the tools and toys I want, I exerted control over my daily life.

There is an interesting relationship between control and performance. When was the last time you saw really talented people perform exceptionally well while being micromanaged? Yet many businesses, schools, corporate environments, hell even volunteer organizations, beat people in to submission, with policy after policy of how things need to be done, when you have to work, what markers you need to meet. How can this be conducive to productivity. Spoiler alert, they aren’t.

Oh boy, I really have a lot to say about this, but I will end with this note. There is a difference between a company that phones in forward thinking (Hey! Yoga in the break room! but only during your exactly 15 minute break, and if you are a minute late coming back then you are penalized.), versus a company that is built on being proactive (You work better from 6PM to 3AM and demonstrate discipline while consistently surpassing project milestones, let’s set you up with VPN access so you can work when you work best).

The goal of positive leadership is to find ways to bring out the best version of the people working for the company

Sam Glenn

*Yup, I realized I’ve fallen back into the coding routine…. Ok, recognizing you are off course is the first step.

 

2 Comments

  1. AJ, I love the fact that you work the way you want. You also brought up some interesting points comparing different types of work cultures with productivity and satisfaction. thanks for sharing.

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