Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Reviving Work Ethic

I read a short book - Reviving Work Ethic - A Leaders Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Emerging Workforce by Eric Chester.

Sometimes I like short books as they suit my short attention span.

I love the topic. One of my strengths and one of the things that I attribute my business success to is my high work ethic. I have often wondered why I am so driven. Interestingly, the people I seemed to attract in business also had tremendous work ethic. EMJ and SYNNEX were high work ethic companies.

For me, work ethic is about hours and time but equally importantly about focus and productivity with that time.

I was correctly "called out" for a previous post that implied that young people feel entitled and are not willing to do the work to get the reward. There is a perhaps a part of us that wants to think "when we were young, we worked all the time and walked uphill both ways to school - not like the young kids today".

I do know that work ethic is partly tied to energy. And as people age, their energy decreases. I wrote a guest post on "Ways to keep your work ethic".

I know my work ethic is less now than when I was in my 20s. I am wondering if I need to change my list of strengths and remove that one (by choice). I ask myself if I really want to be the hardest working. It has been a competitive advantage but...

Reviving work ethic talks about 4 quadrants of workers - the Idle, the Lucky, the Cheating and the Valued. (Sad that 3 of the 4 quadrants seem negative).

Chester then writes about how to move employees to the Valued quadrant by techniques like find your style, develop trust, value tact and timing, tell stories and cast a vision.

It is a good and thought provoking book.


I wrote a post on Market Research on CMA Blog.


I have long known that email is a productivity tool but also a huge time suck. A multi billion dollar French company - Atos is doing away with email! Banning it. And they are a tech company. Will be an interesting experiment.

I have blogged previously on How to Deal with Email Volume.

I would worry that they would become insular without it.


At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Chris Knight said...

At my peak in 2005, I was sending over 20,000 emails a year. Now I'm down 57% from that level and down 22% this year over last year.

I'd love to see my outbound emailing go down another 20% in 2012.

At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Stephan de Villiers said...

Work ethic is extremely important and I think you make a valid point about, not only putting in long hours, but also to be productive during those hours. In today's work environment it is easy to look busy for extended periods of time without actually being productive.

At 1:41 AM, Anonymous Irene Markoja said...

Hi, Jim!
Perhaps it's my growing old, but I actually have a heavier workload and work harder now than during my teens and 20s. (I was even accused of slacking off, hard to believe.) Perhaps it's because I have much more on my plate now: bills, college tuition (yep, I'm back at school part-time while keeping a full-time job), ensuring that my niece (no kids of my own) will get a college education herself 18 to 20 years from now, and getting all the creature comforts that we as humans want and need. Also, I had to deal with two deaths in my family over the last year, so I have been forced to concentrate on my work to keep myself from falling apart. It's not healthy, but I've seen people do more bizarre things after a traumatic event, such as verbally lashing out on others for little or no reason, and without warning.

At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am surprised you didn’t take a firmer stand with respect to this French company’s decision to ban the use of email.

Email is a tool just like fire is a tool. Nobody would consider banning the use of fire just because fire in the wrong hands could cause great destruction.

If Atos is having problem with email, perhaps they should examine its leadership and not blame their problem on a tool.

As always, I find reading your blog enlightening.

Best regards,

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Manage Better Now said...

I am not sure I am ready to lump all the young folks into the same bucket. I have had some twenty somethings work for me that have been exceptional and some forty somethings that took over an hour to turn their computers on each day. Too many exceptions for me to make a rule.

Love the blog though.

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Victoria Bradenton said...

Both as an employee and in managing employees I have found Eric Chester's observations to be right on. The key to improving work ethic is giving an employee a reason to value their work on a personal level. Instilling a sense of belonging as a valued and necessary part of a team is one of the greatest motivators. The next generation of workers have been raised in a very me-focused environment. I have found that this approach works especially well with them.

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Karen Grant said...

Hello Jim, I am new to your blog. It was recommended to me by Doug Shimada, glad he did. I too agree work ethic is important, in fact it is critical to the success of individuals or teams. Those with a "strong" work ethic must balance those that are idle or cheating. Strong does not mean lots of face time it means productive and relevant.


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