Manage Results, Not People’s Time

Are you in a leadership role such as a supervisor or manager? Then you should spend more time managing the results you want. Manage the required expectations

         Manage the Process; Not People

and less time managing people’s time.  Please realize that either meeting or exceeding the expectations makes the company more successful. I have trouble understanding how managing people’s time makes an organization successful. I believe managing people’s time is more about control. And then again it could be simply showing who’s the boss.

Results Trump Time Management

When I was managing digital capture for a company, I calculated the required daily output of pages per operator for the company to make a moderate profit. For this discussion, I set the required count to 1800 acceptable pages. When a scanning operator produced 1800 pages but only 1750 were accepted the goal for the next day was adjusted.  They would need to fix those 50 defective pages from the previous and still produce 1800 acceptable images for that day. To ensure this process worked successfully, all the images produced in a given shift were inspected before their next shift.                                                                                                                                       

We had this one scanning operator that constantly produced 2000+ acceptable pages per day.  One day, HR came to me with some concerns. They informed me this individual occasionally went to break a couple of minutes early. They wanted me to talk to him. I asked if he does this often?  To which I was told “no”. Based on that answer, I told HR that I would not talk to him.

HR wasn’t happy with my answer.  Once again, they tried to tell me I had to talk to him.  I explained to HR that I manage results and not time. I further explained that this individual exceeded the rate, produced quality images and was happy. Why would I want to upset him? What good could come out of such a discussion? I definitely would have a discussion with him if he was abusive with extending his break times. Since I need to treat everyone equal, I would need to address the issue if he was belittling the break policy. Truthfully, if everyone exceeded the requirement, I wouldn’t care if they extended their breaks. I believe if they are helping the company in either meeting or exceeding expectations, then why babysit their time?

Unwritten Rule

A good rule of thumb is to manage what counts for a business to be successful. Regardless if you produce a product, or provide a service, quit managing the time of people if they are producing you great results and help the company be successful. You only need to address managing the time of people when it is blatantly abusive.  If you were a company owner, do you really want to manage their time on the job if they are making your company successful?

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