More productive we get, greater is the workload

Updated: Nov 27 2006, 05:30am hrs
Let us accept it. Work life in todays world is akin to raising quadruplets who demand everything at the same moment. Globalisation and stakeholder (employees, customers, investors and society) expectations are forcing organisations to do much more with very less. Every person in the team is party to it.

Therefore, after 12 hours at workplace, nothing really changes. Customers and co-workers from across the globe wake up and when we are asleep. Technology gadgets like computers, PDAs, etc, which were designed to make our lives easier, have expanded into our personal lives and the dividing line between the workplace and our personal lives is not visible anymore. It appears that the more productive we are, the more the workload increases.

Lack of experienced resources has opened up opportunities for early leadership to bloom. This opportunity quickly translates into a burdengiven the deadline pressures, demanding stakeholders and not-so-skilled juniors! Lack of support, time, skills and people can be a lethal combination that induces mind-boggling stress.

Excited by the opportunity and blinded by the desire to succeed, many of us breach the tipping point often.

Ironically, the more stress we encounter at work, the less time we find to stop and sharpen our strategy or skills. The average age of IT professionals today is in the mid 20s purging tested methods to daringly innovate is a reluctant choice. Over time, this results in a definite conflict between defined expectations and actual outcomes. The temptation to compromise on personal and organisational values so as to succeed becomes a compelling proposition. Some succumb. Majority dont.

Organisations recognised stress as a potential epidemic and have tried multi-pronged approaches to help this. From spending enormous amounts to re-skill, to facilitating spiritual programmes for the entire family, symptomatic band-aids have been tested. Truth remains that seeking remedies outside is futile. The choices are within and what we choose to embrace, will determine our destiny.

Can we define in simple words our vision of being successful Can we tame our temptations Is our success tied in to the fortunes of others around us that is, is it relative or is it absolute Do we measure career growth on a daily, monthly or yearly basis Can we stop to listen and learn The answers are simple but probably constantly changing and therein lies the problem and the solution.

It is important to accept that periodic conflicts between capability and role expectation, between material needs and reality, between operating styles and behavioural expectations will constantly happen. What is important is to step over these hurdles. Remembering some of these guidelines may help:

* Recognise that you cannot always control the outcome of a business decision, but you can definitely influence the decision

* Start with a practical and positive mindset

* Prioritise and focus on the biggest issues

* Set expectations upfront. Temptations to deliver more is natural Define targets and stretch targets

* Perfection is a moving target Strive to do the best you can

* Focus on results and avoid micromanaging

* Enjoy the moment. The end result tomorrow is even more enjoyable if we can truly relish our efforts today

* Put your personal life in order

Maybe, there is far too much work done in the world, and immense harm is caused by the belief that work is worship It is time we become self aware of our needsprofessional as well as personal.

The writer is director and senior VP (HR), Satyam Computer