If you want more efficiency in your team, just hire a lazy person (or a smart koala).
According to the Australian Koala Foundation, a koala usually sleeps between 18 to 22 hours a day to conserve energy for essential stuff like digestion.
How does this apply to workplaces? If you look around, you’ll likely see the “creatures of habit” assiduously doing the same inefficient and non-essential thing over and over again.
The formula: control + predictability + certainty shapes how people go about their day. It’s a self-perpetuating existence reinforcing a familiar and facile status quo.
The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. Bill Gates
So, what is needed to change the formula?
Lazy folks act on self-interest via an aversion mindset. They are disinclined to overly exert themselves in fruitless pursuits: excessive data entry, mindless meetings and frivolous requests. They just can't be bothered with things that waste their time or are pointless.
“If there's an easier, more efficient way to do something, trust a lazy person to find it.” Marty Rubin
These indolents are motivated by work-life balance, and a sense of achievement. They change things up, they create things that weren't there and they push back for the right reasons.
"Let's get the boring stuff finished by noon so we can dive into something meaningful in the afternoon" she cried!
So, how often are your team members heading into another mind-numbing meeting to waste an hour of their life?
A Disease to Please
Your people may be suffering from a “disease to please". It's very contagious.
"Lazy" people have higher expectations of their work, rousing an intestinal fortitude to say “no” to the unimportant: “Ain’t nobody got time for dat.”
More efficiency occurs when you ameliorate the “disease to please” by saying “no“ more often, so your “yeses“ mean something.
How to say No, nicely
Of course, you can never just say "no" directly by declining an invitation to a meeting. You do it by asking carefully crafted questions before you accept:
Could you please provide me with more information about the purpose of the meeting?
what contribution are you looking for from me to this meeting?
what pre-reading can you send me before the meeting so I can prepare?
By simply answering a question or two upfront, it encourages people to think more deeply about the need for a meeting and why you need to be there. It's a much nicer way of getting to "no" by helping people respect time.
Next time you get invited to a meeting, try asking a few simple questions to see if it helps encourage more efficient behaviour.
And if you don't get the right answer first time, don't get upset, do what a koala does and "sleep on it!".
The photo: The first Sunday in August is National Tree Day, and according to the Australian Koala Foundation, a koala usually sleeps between 18 to 22 hours a day in a tree to conserve energy as their diet requires a lot of energy to digest gum leaves. Chew gum and sleep. Sounds like my teenagers children a weekend! It’s gotta be a “hell yeah” to get a teenager off the couch! 🤙
Our koalas are seriously endangered. Visit the Australia Koala Foundation to learn more.