Over the month of July, I will share lessons learned from my ATB journey, post my retirement announcement effective Aug. 1. The accomplishments and extraordinary results at ATB over six plus years belong to many. However, the learnings I will share are exclusively mine. I hope you will find them thought provoking, and perhaps even instructive.
Story: When I joined ATB, I was amazed at how much of the organization was traditional in the context of work being about time and place. It was mostly a classic nine to five environment. Our wealth management division was experimenting with people being able to work where and when they needed to. However, this more advanced thinking was not yet an enterprise wide strategy.
It was 2012, and I had just heard an intriguing presentation by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson who wrote the book “Why Work Sucks and How to Fix it.” It essentially challenged traditional thinking that work was about attendance and just showing up versus work being about achieving results at any place or time. Why not treat employees as self accountable, fully functional adults? And so we began the conversation as to why we would initiate what we called Workplace 2.0, first with our leaders and then the rest of the community. Essentially, this new way of working had only two rules: 1. Show up where, when and with whom you need to get the best results. 2. Remember no results equals no job. For many leaders, the idea of having people working from anywhere they needed or wanted was initially very uncomfortable. After all, how would we know people were really working and not just taking advantage of us? We were amazed to see how Workplace 2.0 rapidly caught on and became foundational for advancing our culture.
Key Point: When you treat people with total trust, ensure they know what’s expected and challenge them as very self-accountable beings, they rise up and then some. They become truly remarkable and exponentially better in creating outcomes and increasing productivity. Judgment and keeping score by attendance soon goes out the window. “Sludge,” or trash talking about where people have been when not at their desk, essentially goes away. When you give people reasonable autonomy and personal control, it creates a sense of business ownership, regardless of authority or level.
Personal Leadership Moves:
- Think about how much control you exert over when, where, and how people do their work. Contemplate the waste of unnecessary oversight you have and/or have given others. My learning is that people will more than respond in the most productive ways when they have well defined self-autonomy and accountability.
- Stop taking time and attendance, and substitute with “no results equals no job.” Not a threat, but real world truth telling.
- Fire anyone consciously trying to take advantage of the system.
One Millennial View: At my previous position, I was scheduled to be at the office at 5 a.m. but I was dependent on the function of a train from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles. Sometimes it was delayed, and on occasion it broke down. Considering it was 2017, I was able to do work on my phone while in transit. By the time I showed up to the office, I already had the same amount of work done as if I would have been sitting at my desk. Ironically, I’m not sure it was even necessary for me to be at the office that early. The key point is, “no results equals no job,” and it doesn’t matter where you get it done. Employers and team leaders should know that even if someone is on a train, the workload and responsibilities do not need to go off the rails.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis