Thursday, May 12

Just Showing up

On my long-term and short-term projects, I am around motivated and talented people.

But a theme has come up when talking to colleagues. A lot of people these days, according to a lot of good sources, are just "showing up. "

They are just showing up to meetings, unprepared.
They are showing up to league basketball games without having done much practice.
They write reports and letters without doing much research.
I have seen sales calls when both sides knew nothing about the other.

If the theme is just "showing up," however, the expectations seem to vary.

Some people still expect to be great. Some people think we will revel in their wondefulness, unprepared as they are.

Others just want to get by. The years of incredible rewards for incredible efforts are over, they think. Why push?

Both have implications for formal learning. But first, let's test the premise. Are people seeing this in their own workplace?


Jim Schuyler said...

You betcha. But, I had a good explanation for it, so I never thought about it much... Here's my observation. When I last worked in a big, fast-growing company, in 2001, there was some of this behavior. The reason was that everyone was SO OVERWORKED that it was very difficult to have your "homework" done in time for every meeting. (Some people were 100% on, but others were constantly "not ready" for meetings.) So the practice was to get as much done as you could and show up anyway. In my opinion, this is n unavoidable side-effect of today's "overwork" generation, where there's just so much to do that you can't get it all done.

I do know the syndrome you hint at - those who think "you owe me" this job, but I don't run into it much.

One might ask one's self whether if this happens in their org it might be a sign of something else - perhaps too many meetings? Or meetings being scheduled or held before people are really ready for them? Perhaps you should postpone a meeting rather than come to it "not ready?" Or perhaps if a report is only half-ready-for-prime-time you should institute a review process so it gets critiqued and improved before it is made broadly available.

I'm sure this happens in other contexts, in other types of companies with different cultures, but my observation is for a fast-growing, high-stress real-life company. I really don't know very many slackers. Honestly.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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