Earlier this year, I heard an executive say, “Silicon Valley doesn’t think in terms of years. They think in terms of days/weeks/months.” While I understand Silicon Valley doesn’t rule the world, they do produce much of the technology that drives business today.
Which means their perception of time is important. Because their perception of time drives the way they design the technology we use. We might not like the idea that our phones and computers don’t last forever, but we do have to figure out how to deal with it. Same with software. For example, we might not like it when Facebook or Google tweaks their algorithm, but if we want to continue using their software, then we have to know how to manage it.
But today’s post isn’t about Apple or LinkedIn or Microsoft…or any of those technology companies.
It’s about taking their concepts about time and applying it to our workforces.
- What do your employees think short-term and long-term mean?
- What does senior management think short-term and long-term mean?
- Is everyone on the same page?
We talk with employees on a regular basis about time. Short-term goals. Long-term career plans. Does that mean weeks, months, or years? I can see employees getting really frustrated if they were asked to take on a responsibility “short-term” and it ends up being years. Or being asked to commit to a “long-term” project only to have it abandoned after a few months.
The senior management team also talks in terms of time. Long-term results. Short-term objectives. Sometimes they will even talk about medium-range goals. When management communicates, is it clear the results will take 1-year, 5-years, and 10-years?
Finally, do all of those time frames align? Ideally, the company should set short-, medium-, and long-term goals. Talent management strategies should align so the organization has the right people at the right moment with the right skills to accomplish those goals. Employees should be engaged throughout each respective time period, working toward being ready for those opportunities when they come available.Timing is a critical ingredient for our business success.Click To Tweet
But I don’t see how that can happen if senior management thinks long-term is 10 years and employees think it’s 5 years. Timing is a critical ingredient for our business success. Organizations have to define it and make it a part of their culture. Because not only should everyone be working toward the same goals, but they should be working at the same pace.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the 2016 MBTI Users Conference in San Francisco, CA