10% of 40 hour weeks should be for learning, growing and experimenting
Published: April 9, 2020
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If you're a CEO you'd probably want your company to adapt a "growth mindset". If everyone would think that way things would be better right? Well maybe, or maybe not.
The thing is growth mindset is in all of us, but it's not about money, it's about creating things and spending your time meaningfully. Everything else should come naturally.
Today if your company mission is to earn money and think money, you'll lose unless you're lucky. If your company exists to really unselfishly help your customers or clients you have a better chance of making it.
Authenticity is going to be the thing that makes you successful or not. Customers can smell BS miles away an no amount of money you throw at them for ads isn't going to change that.
So a growth mindset is really customer experience if you look at it a few steps back. And your employees take care of your customers and your customers are your business.
I've worked with company at some big product launches and the CEO didn't have time to talk to me about some important things for about a month...
He said he's been busy working on the business. Which is weird because the people working there are the business, they're the ones that take care of the customers. If you don't have time for them, why would they even think about helping you in return?
Because of the salary? It's just a job, they're paid 8 hours to do work someone else told them to do and that's usually it.
If they're working under constant deadlines, pressure, stress, you can't really expect that they'll come up with some brilliant solutions, products or ideas that will make the company more money.
No, under that environment, they will just do what it takes to survive the day and just barely pass the quality for the given task.
If you really them to come up with new solutions and ideas that will change your company for the better, you need to give them the time, motivation and support.
I've suggested to the CEO mentioned earlier that the "growth team" should invest in learning so they could communicate better and understand each other more.
I also suggested that they get 10% of their working time to spend learning, experimenting or collaborating.
That can be either a 4 hour block or 1 hour per day, depending on what they want to learn.
The 4 hour block is also great for team collaboration.
10% seems a lot but trust me, no one is highly productive for full 40 hours per week.
There's a great amount of solid subscription services like CXL that has a range of learning material for anyone. Subscribe your team to it and make a plan together.
The CEO didn't listen and said:"If we're paying for learning they should do it in their free time." Really?
They will say "no thanks" to your generosity and upgrade their skills themselves.
You won't ever get to see what they can actually do as they will leave for a better job soon that supports their growth. True story.
Try and give them the time and a goal or rather a challenge, but it needs to be tied to their skills. Or keep it up to them, that should make for some surprising and unexpected things to happen.
They will probably think of ways to improve things in the company or they will improve something personal which will also have an impact inside the company.
Imagine that one grumpy employee not being grumpy anymore and the team starts to love him, improving their team work and productivity altogether. Anything can happen.
Make them fall in love with their craft again, that will help with their motivation, which will help them come up with new ideas and solutions.
Great ideas are created when the person is happy. The saying "Diamonds are formed under pressure" is wrong. There are extreme situations like when a person really loses everything and has to make it happen as their life depends on it. These kind of situations may fit that saying and nothing else.
When doing work under pressure with a time constraint, we will rarely come up with something new, we will instantly play it safe and do what we know, just at a faster pace and probably with errors.
If in those 10% of learning time per week is really used and they grow only 1% each day, the compound effect will kick in and with time, the results will be there and they will get big.
You should't turn your employees into those "+15 years of experience" which really reads "1 year of experience, repeated 15 times".
Help them grow, that's your job.
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