Stop Managing Activities and Start Seeing Results

Keep Everyone Busy So You Can Kill Creativity

In the current economic climate (one that we’ve dubbed The Great Necession), it seems that companies are so concerned about productivity that they’re forgetting about innovation and creativity.

Whether we’re all trying to cover our asses as managers or whether we truly believe that micromanagement and piling on the busy work is the key to survival during The Great Necession, we have become obsessed with ensuring everyone still employed is constantly busy.

Understandably, many workers are doing their job and that of their laid off former coworkers; though even this doesn’t explain what we’ve observed over the past several months in workplaces across America. Too often to be a coincidence, we’ve watched in disbelief as more and more managers unnecessarily micromanage the activities of their charges in an effort to magically drive more output.

We’ve become so concerned with keeping everyone busy that we don’t leave time for our employees to be creative or creatively solve problems.

Manage the Results, Not the Activities

Often because they don’t fully understand the goals, junior managers fall into the trap of managing or micromanaging the activities of their subordinates. When desperate, even seasoned leaders will sometimes scramble to drive productivity through the micromanagement of daily activities.

The Great Necession has created more than a little desperation in the workplace.

The key to reaching your team’s goals as leaders is to clearly identify the goals and then monitor and manage the output of those contributing to the achieving of these goals. When you try to manage the inputs (the activities) instead of the outputs (the results), you most often find you’re driving fast, though in the wrong direction. Additionally, you cannot hold your subordinates accountable for the results that the overly-managed activities attain.

When you tell someone not only what to do, but also how to do it, you own the results – good or bad.

We Need Creative Problem Solving to Solve Our Current Problems

Left to their own accord, people will always find ways to do it cheaper, faster, better and safer. If you’re micromanaging their activities, you leave them no time to improve your products or processes; and thus, no time to help pull your company through the tough times.

As leaders, it rests on us to guide our companies through this economy. Your people are counting on you to do just that. It’s time to lead again: Resist the temptation and stop managing the activities and just manage the results. It’s easier. Of course, do this only if you want creative solutions to your company’s problems.