How are you? Busy. This has become the commonplace response because ‘busyness’ has become the synonymous with hard work. This article is a battle cry for organizations to stop conflating activity with achievement. When organizations overload employees, base their incentives primarily on the amount of time they work, and excessively monitor their activities, productivity and efficiency actually drop. So why is busyness revered in corporate culture? Absent very clear strategic priorities, people create endless amounts of work based on what they think matters and how they will be evaluated. Even throughout Covid-19, employees’ desire to stay busy likely made them generate unnecessary work and stretch out the time it took to complete tasks, exacerbating their burnout. How to reverse course? Reward output, rather than just activity. Eliminate low-value work. Force your employees off the clock. Lead by example. CEOs can set the tone for the organization starting with their direct reports. Please reach out to me to discuss ways you can start addressing the busyness in your corporate culture.

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