Working Smarter vs. Working Harder LO30187

From: Ellery July (
Date: 05/19/03

Replying to LO30172 --

"Further, finding ways of working smarter almost always entails
involving and listening to the people who actually do the work and,
based upon what is learned, changing the way things are done. This, in
turn, amounts to acknowledging the power of the workers and admitting
that management is not all-knowing or all-powerful. Many managers
cannot bring themselves to do this, even implicitly. Instead, they
husband to themselves all power and authority. Pressed, they push
harder. Even when ways of working smarter can be realized without the
awkwardness of worker involvement and participation, many managers will
still push people to work harder. Why?
Because getting people to work smarter AND work harder has more
immediate economic value and that is what management is all about:
near-term economic value."

When I hear comments like the above it is usually based on the writers
personal experiences which have been generalized to the larger sphere.
Frankly, your experience is not my experience and your comments and are
not supported by business research it.

To me working smarter should not a struggle between the queen bees and the
worker bees. One of the main reasons why companies do not learn is because
consultants, craftspeople, and others boils conflicts down to management
vs. employees. This old refrain keeps looping with both management and
workers feeling unappreciated by the other.

It is not just about "listening to the people who actually do the work" If
GM and Ford were do that they would have been out of business in the 70's.
People Express, RCA, and Bell Labs did that and where are they now.

It is not just about making people work faster because there will always
be people who can do it faster and/or cheaper. Lastly, after so much speed
the workers rebel (and rightly so).

Working smarter is doing what the customer, client, community wants which
intersect with your mission, vision, and values. To many worker and
management types miss that intersection point and blame each other.

I wonder what you base the comment of "management is all about: near-term
economic value" on. I have worked with a variety of non-profit and small
and medium cap for-profits and have only seen one company of managers
think that way.

Lastly, I listened to this group for a number of years off/on and have
found many the latest set of e-mails to be counter to the tenets of what I
see as creating learning environments.

ellery july
Director Community Activities and Learning
P - 651.225.3895
F - 651.225.7695

The Northwest Area Foundation exists to help communities in our
eight-state region reduce poverty.

>From: Fred Nickols []

>Hmm. Been there, tried to do that, failed. The distinction you're
>trying to make for the "overseers" is between the level or amount of
>energy expended (working harder) and the efficiency and effectiveness of
>a given energy expenditure (working smarter). They will grasp that
>distinction right away; indeed, they probably already know it.
>Moreover, they have long been told by all manner of management gurus and
>pundits that they should concentrate on finding ways of working smarter
>instead of working harder. In other words, that message is not new to


"Ellery July" <>

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