Work: Is The Objective Time or Value?

by Jay Deragon on 04/03/2013

spectrumIn the industrial era the time clock was the measure of value created from human capital. In the Social Era the measure of value is the quality of thinking both individually and collectively.  The relevancy of time is relative to how much is saved and the value created by what our thinking produces.

In the 1980’s and 90’s American businesses were competing on the “quality” of their products and services”. Obsessed with cutting out waste and and meeting or exceeding customer expectations the mental models of industry were framed around measuring everything, everyone and driving customers crazy with constant request for feedback.  Productivity was king and everyone was expected to produce more at less cost (but more hours) and at higher quality.  Long work hours were expected whether it be on the factory floor or in the executive offices. Time was money and we had to spend more of it to get more of it.

Then the Digital Era was brought to light in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Productivity gains shifted to emphasizing the use of technology to automate work previous performed by humans. Technology processed routine task faster and with higher quality than any human could possible conceive of doing. Suddenly there became a economic, intellectual and social divide between those who can do quality work and those that used to do quantity work.

What Matters Now Is The Quality of  The Thinking

In a recent WSJ article Jody Greenstone Miller writes: Quality is the goal, not quantity. Leaders need to create a culture in which talented people are judged not by the quantity of their work, but by the quality of their contributions. This can’t be hollow blather. Someone who works 20 hours a week and who delivers exceptional results on a pro rata basis should be eligible for promotions and viewed as a top performer. American corporations need to get rid of the notion that wanting to work less makes someone a “B player.”.

Given the freedom and time to think everyone has the ability to contribute ideas to not just solving old problems but more importantly to the creation of new value. If one idea solves multiple problems or creates ten times the value for stakeholders then shareholders will be rewarded.

Value creation is the new measure of quality and the only thing time has to do with it is how much is saved or given to those involved in creating or receiving it

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