Skip to main content Accessibility Feedback

The Propagation of “Busy” is Dangerous Trend

too-busy-cropped“Do you rush through the morning paper, barely skimming the headlines while answering emails and making kids’ lunches? Do you compete with coworkers over how late you stay at the office each night?” Lisa Evan’s recent piece in Fast Company provides a brief overview of the culture of busy. It is a topic that is rapidly gaining traction and there is a lot of reading material out there.

The culture of “busy”  is absolutely a top down phenomenon. Employees take their cues from managers or owners and respond in kind. The “logic” is “busy” means people are working—which means they are productive—which means business is good. Except that’s not true. Busy means, well, busy. It means you are doing something, and it’s keeping you occupied, but busy says nothing about being productive.
In our experience, companies with a culture of “busy” create needlessly complex systems in some sort of odd, self-propagating support of keeping everyone busy. Since we have yet to come across an organization that actually sells “busy” or manufactures “busy,” this is really not a great thing.  When busy clients reach a point where the “busy-ness”isn’t sustainable any more, the hard part is not finding ways to streamline operations. The hard part is getting management to recognize that many of the systems they created are far more complex than necessary, or useful. This normally means that by streamlining their actual systems, they can save a lot of writing effort on the policy and procedure front, which for most clients would be wonderful news, but for a client transitioning away from the “culture of busy” having less work to do takes a bit of getting used to.
Read the article here: Why you need to stop bragging about how busy you are,  Lisa Evans, Fast Company

Applying Operations Mapping concepts helps you stop just being “busy,” so you can be “productive.”