I’m starting to plan my trip to this year’s HR Technology Conference and I’m reminded of a prior year’s keynote speaker, Rahaf Harfoush, author of “The Decoded Company: Know Your Talent Better Than You Know Your Customers.” In her session, one of the points she made was about evaluating people based upon their contributions, versus face time in the office. And I agree with her, to a point.
Yes, we do need to evaluate people based upon their results. And no, face time should not be an evaluation measurement. But we need to recognize that one of the ways we are able to achieve results is with and through the working relationships we have with others. And how do we build those working relationships? Yep, sometimes it includes face time.
Now I’m not saying you can’t be a successful individual contributor or virtual team member. There are many virtual and individual contributors who have achieved significant results. The key to their success is knowing when being an individual contributor is the best approach. Here are a few things to consider:
Skills: There are times when we have all the skills and knowledge necessary to do the job. And times we don’t. Reality is, we don’t always get projects that neatly fit our skill set. Part of accomplishing the task (and being a key contributor) is having resources to turn to when the project demands it.
Time: In those cases when we have all the skills to do the job, we might be faced with a deadline that we can’t meet by ourselves. That’s when we need to reach out to colleagues who are as good as we are to help us deliver the work on time.
Value: Sometimes we can do the work, but it’s not the best use of our time and talents. The best value we can provide is managing the person or group who will actually do the work. It doesn’t mean we can’t do the work and that we wouldn’t do a good job. It means that’s not where the company gets the most value at that moment in time.
In all of these considerations, building relationships is an important part of getting the job done. Whether it’s reaching out to someone with different skills, the same skills, or available time, a relationship on some level needs to exist. And good relationships involve a certain amount of face time.
Let me also add that, in today’s digital world, face time can have a whole new meaning. It could be someone that you interact with regularly on social media and have the opportunity to see their work, their demeanor, and ethic.
Face time isn’t always a bad thing. When used the right way, those moments can help us build the relationships we need to be a successful contributor. And, more importantly, to be recognized as such.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby