culture of BUSY

culture of BUSYThe culture of busy; endless emails, back-to-back meetings, early starts, long hours and always connected. Brigid Shulte, author of Overwhelmed is on a
mission. She’s getting companies and people to stop using busyness as a benchmark for productivity. Too many time-crunched industries value hours worked, email overloads and number of meetings over productivity. Rewiring a culture requires leaders to lead by example. The good news is leadership is not a rank it’s a decision, we all have a choice to lead.

Dopamine Dump

Write down goals. When goals are visual and achievable we get a dose of dopamine. It’s the visible metrics and milestones that makes work meaningful. When days are filled with hectic “busy-work” vision and purpose are unknown. Define your goals and go after them.


Build a circle of trust, extend it to the outer edges of your tribe, organization or team. Trust builds a sense of pride, confidence and belonging. It allows us to focus on work that matters while eliminating the need or feeling to protect ourselves from unknown risks.

Give time, give energy

A leader sacrifices time and energy, expecting nothing in return. Witnessing small acts of kindness trigger others to do the same and lead with generosity. With generosity comes the ability to identify creative solutions and collaboratively solve complex problems.

Leaders are the ones who give us their time and energy, not money. ~ Simon Sinek

The good news

leadership Leadership is a decision, not a rank. Set achievable goals, build trust and make time for others. The culture of “busy” promotes stress and fear. Push back, follow your vision and help others achieve their goals. It’s up to us to re-engineer and design a culture that works for everyone. A culture that allows us to be creative, innovative and happy.


Hierarchy vs. Meritocracy

“We are driven by meaningful work, by others’ acknowledgement and by the amount of effort we’ve put in: the harder the task is, the prouder we are.”

My company recently distributed its annual promotion list. Ten pages of people promoted out of tens of thousands of employees. There have been years where I’ve been on “the list” and years I have not. What I’ve learned is promotion in a hierarchical organization has little to do with merit or work delivered and more about politics behind closed doors. This taught me valuable lessons on how people are motivated and engaged on projects, teams and communities.

Focus on the work, not the title

ImageRecent conversations at work have a consistent theme. I find myself reassuring people who did not make “the list” to continue focusing on the work, not the title. Even a hierarchical organization can adopt meritocracy attributes. When projects, teams and communities enable people to learn, develop marketable skills, solve complex problems and broaden networks, motivation will remain consistent.

Drive motivation

I’m a big fan of behavioral economist, Dan Ariely. Dan’s TED Talk unveils findings that contradict popular belief about pay andImage promotion as motivators. To drive motivation people need meaning, creation, challenge, ownership, identity, pride and acknowledgement connected to their work. Developing myBill, a new application and approach for managing personal consumption at work, my pay or title was not a motivational force. I was passionate about the challenge of creating new software, to change the workplace and help others. The work I delivered drove my motivation, not the hierarchy. Understanding and applying the science of motivation alters the way we engage people, lead teams and manage communities.

Adopt meritocracy

ImageAdopting a meritocracy structure for your team or community promotes transparent contributions, collaboration and enables leaders to emerge organically. When the work feels bureaucratic, political or monotonous something is wrong. Allow the playing field to be level by recognizing hard work, celebrate successes, champion contributors and foster an environment where the work matters, not a title or hierarchy.