Recently, several articles were published reporting that we are working more than 40 hours a week – especially in the United States. We are spending more time on our work and less time on ourselves. The 40 hour work week is a thing of the past. The reports call out the continuing pressure by management to push productivity, meet deadlines, and be a team-player – all in the spirit of profit, competition and survival.
In the early 20th century, workers faced similar pressures, which spawned the coveted 40-hour work week, and paid time-off. However, as the reports indicate, they are meaningless. Let’s face it, we are working more hours.
So how do we move forward?
- How do we take-back time for ourselves and move our personal lives forward?
- How do we move the organization forward?
- How do we compete?
Buy New Technology: The organization can buy some new whiz-bang technologies, but it is only as good as the people who effectively use it. As well, there will be some new whiz-bang technology coming along in a few years promising to do more. If your competitors purchase the same technology, are you really creating a competitive differentiator? Are you really moving forward?
Better Talent: Hire smarter people for less money. This is easier said than done. After going through the outsourcing wave in the previous decade, the reports show our work week is still getting longer. Outsourcing does not necessarily reduce the amount of time spent, and it doesn’t really move the organization forward.
Organizational Effectiveness (a.k.a. Knowledge Management)
Every organization manages knowledge, but most organizations stumble and bumble along the way. They are caught in the hurry-scurry of the day, and move along by brute force and – more long hours. For the most part, managing knowledge is someone else’s job. However, a few organizations have established a strong Knowledge Management (KM) program, deliberately designed for the organization to work smarter, not harder. A strong KM program is the way back to the 40 hour work week.
A strong KM program and culture leverages the collective knowledge and experience across the organization. It removes the silos, stagnant projects and heroes-and-mavericks mentality. A strong KM program gets past the organizational static and clutter, and creates a collaborative culture, fostering efficiency, creativity, and profits, providing the organization with a competitive differentiator.
Keep in mind, there are several ways to approach a deliberate KM Program. Also, understand, Knowledge Management is not a project, rather it is a way of doing business. Here are several questions to ask yourself and your leadership:
- Does your organization have a Knowledge Management strategy?
- Does your organization have a Knowledge Management roadmap?
- Does your organization measure KM (… or the effectiveness of your organizations)?
- Is managing knowledge a core pillar of the communication plan?
- Is managing knowledge a part of your job?
Most organizations cannot answer ‘yes’ to these questions.
Perhaps its time you considered a deliberate Knowledge Management program. Work smarter, not harder, and take back your time!