Inspiring Workaholism or Doing the Minimum?

One inspired employee can produce as much as 2.25 satisfied employees.  Wow!

This Bain & Company Stat, featured in an article by Michael Mankins in HBR this March, highlights the need for self-productivity as well as business to WAKE UP to shift from downsizing and cost cutting – efficiency –  to promoting and unleashing more from those who work within a business – us.
Statistics this week reveal that global productivity continues to decline.
One of the joys of my life has been my workaholism – a term which the dictionary describes as, “a person who compulsively works excessively hard and long hours”.  I am that massively productive person.  I am an expert at it!  But, I have over done it and to prove it, I have recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. My body is reflecting my relentless overdrive to make a difference.  As an expert on this, one of my favourite subjects, I invite you to explore efficiency vs. productivity and the role that inspiration plays in the latter.  How do we work more productively and not fall into dossing about, and how do we inspire others in our businesses to do the same?
As I review the global workplace I am inspired by much, but I also see;

  • Worried people, and a level of anxiety that puts us on personal red alert.
  • A lack of joy and inspiration as we robotically tick off our to do lists to get through it all.
  • A focus on the self rather than the greater good, “that’s not inspiring me”, rather than “that could inspire others to make a significant positive difference”.
  • Self-effacement, as people keep things to themselves, reducing openness, honesty and a human culture, yet on the other hand hold up on Facebook how amazing their world is.
  • A divide between work and life outside of work, with the former formal and an act of doing, and the latter recovery time or a dreamlike place to be – if only forever – fuelling laziness (ouch) and resentment – a “I look after myself” focus.

When I then reflect upon what inspires me to (ok excessively) be productive I find the following to be of vital importance;

  • I feel a purpose and take accountability for thriving in my work.
  • I choose to be positive and I believe I make a difference.
  • I admit my vulnerability and galvanise my courage to get me through challenges.
  • I am myself, and believe that the best person I can be is me.

If efficiency is doing more with less, then productivity is doing more with the same.  However, most businesses are stuck in cost cutting, process reengineering and restructuring to maximise the bottom line.  When we think about managing ourselves we tend to think the same.  What can I drop?  How will I prioritise?  The result?  A treadmill of transactional doing.  With inspiration and ideas to do more with the same, through creativity, generally left for, “when I have time”.
Creativity is inspiring – but achievement is addictive.
85% of Courageous Success clients have a value around achievement – often described as making a difference, having an impact and contribution.  It is addictive because it provides validation and recognition, we don’t want to be dossing about!   Productivity – doing more with the same is Courageous Success the verb – but rather than being applied to pace, speed and content – efficiency – it is viewing everything with creative eyes and energy to inspire what could be done better to achieve even more.


Imagine if every leader had this as their philosophy!





So, it’s less hard work more smart work.  I for one have taken the vow of productivity, what’s getting in your way of doing the same?

  • Are you selfishly thinking about yourself too much – is there a ‘what’s in it for me’ malaise hampering your business and personal growth?
  • Are you as productive as you could be at work or do you work to a level that is what you think you can get away with? Controversial!
  • Are you enduring your work life?  The phrase ‘work to live’ plays into this – it assumes that these are two separate things – one to be enjoyed, the other to be ‘endured’ to pay for it.  Do you feel like this?

Coming back to global and specifically UK productivity, the head of the UK CMI Ann Francke said of last week’s ONS productivity figures, ”Investment in skills and management training is a crucial step to boosting productivity….poor management is costing our economy £84bn each year, and Britain lags other countries when it comes to people skills.”  YES!

Are you being a life changing manager?  An inspirer?




Here are some Courageous Success tips for igniting your inspiring productivity:

Switch off the autopilot!
We are creatures of habit and go through a large proportion of our lives unconsciously. Stir things up.  Take a new route to work.  Regularly speak to people you wouldn’t normally.  Draw ideas on a blank piece of paper.  If you do what you always do, you’ll get what you’ve always got.
Embrace challenge!
Taking on new opportunities will give you the chance to learn and grow. Learning helps the brain evolve new pathways which will literally change your mind. Set yourself a daily or weekly challenge to inspire and see how to do more with the same.

Ask us about working with us 1:1 to boost you and your leader’s productivity, all whilst being the best of ourselves.  We are also now running “I am a life changing manager” workshops, there to potentially save business £84bn.


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