Over the years, the two most common objections I’ve heard during productivity discussions are:
Do you want quantity or quality?
Do you want me to spend my time on important activities or do you want me to spend my time documenting them?
I’ve never found these either/or arguments to be an effective way to build a business case – especially since past experience shows me that increased quantity can actually lead to higher quality. Does that sound crazy? Give me a few minutes and I’ll show you why it’s possible.
Recruiting & Hiring: Why more is better – If we planned a recruitment project from an efficiency perspective, it would make sense to stop interviewing as soon as we had identified the right number of candidates with the requisite skills. This would shorten the time to hire but would almost certainly result in reduced quality. Think of it this way: Selecting the top 3 candidates from 8 interviews will almost always net better hires than selecting the top 3 out of 5. This is why many companies use the services of professional recruiters who specialize in attracting, interviewing and assessing fit. A good recruiter conducts a dozen or more interviews each and every week. This ongoing volume produces sharpness in recruiters that you can’t teach. It also keeps them apprised of employment trends and makes them industry experts in their market.
Business Development: A numbers game – A less-skilled sales person with a solid daily appointment schedule will outdo a more seasoned and strategic sales person who conducts fewer face-to-face meetings. There are a couple of reasons why this holds true. The more volume, the easier it is to pick the best prospects instead of clinging hopefully to the first few with a hearing ear. The more active sales person will have deeper and broader market knowledge and contacts – both of which help them become a better consultant.
With all this activity, who has time to do data entry? It’s a common objection. Not effective, but common. Keeping records updated each day is a tiny task that takes only a few moments to demonstrate commitment to the team and to the overall goals of the organization.
So the next time you encounter the quality versus quantity argument, send them over here for a quick read.
Recently, I was sitting in a Vancouver coffee shop with a woman I had met at a career development conference. We were there to discuss her resume and career search. As we began mapping out ways to expand her network, she looked out the window and pointed at someone walking in the typical texting stance: head down, thumbs flying, with only an occasional glance at the sidewalk to avoid tripping hazards. With a sigh, she said how sad it is that no one wants to connect anymore.
I think my jaw may have dropped because her eyes got wide as we sat there staring at each other. It made me realize that not everyone appreciates our new methods of connecting – or even recognizes these communications as legitimate conversations. It begs the question: Are online relationships real?
For me, a frequent business traveler and admitted workaholic, electronic communications offer a convenient way to stay in touch. Be it 5:00 in the morning or 10:00 at night, I can reach out without asking friends and associates to keep the hours I keep. I know they’ll pick up my message when it suits them. And if they happen to be online when I am, we may use instant messaging or even pick up the phone.
I guess my point is that email, Facebook chat, and instant messaging add to our relationships rather than detract. In fact, many of us are communicating more often than we had before these tools were available. I know I’m certainly better informed about the goings on of my friends and family. Is it real? Of course it is.
I used to think the smoking crowd at work had a huge advantage. I’d see them leave the building together and come back 10 minutes later with all kinds of plans and energy. Why? They took the time to chat with other people, compare ideas, crystallize thoughts. Meanwhile, the non-smokers remained glued to their desk, staring at a mind-numbing computer screen.
Smoking breaks have always held a special appeal for corporate ladder climbers. The savvy folks in the office know if the visiting executive is a smoker, you want to follow him or her outside as smoke breaks have a way of flattening the hierarchy. I don’t know if it’s the shared struggle to get a light despite the wind sprites flitting around at the base of office buildings or if it’s the shared stigma created by engaging in an activity that relegates one to “6 metres from any building entrance”. Whatever the cause, it’s just enough to create a space where junior wannabes can get some serious face time with managers up the chain.
Yesterday I decided to join the smokers to get a little extra networking and ideation. What happened instead is I became part of a group of businesswomen standing outside, heads down, staring at Blackberries and iPhones, thumbs flying. No conversation.
I’m beginning to think the smokers are losing their networking advantage.