How about a little civil disobedience

I’ve noticed an uptick lately in the business press regarding things like work hours, vacation time allotment, etc. and some organizations’ continued obsession with treating their employees like children. The root of all the outrage (and much of it is outrage, FINALLY!) seems to be an overdue realization that we’re putting “presenteeism” in front of real results. Well duh, we’ve been doing that for years. But it’s deeper and more insidious than just having a virtual punch clock where our grown up faces used to be. The chaperoning extends well beyond the number of days and hours we’re in the office, into what we’re doing while we’re there (certainly not communicating with others the way we do in real life, thanks to the hundreds of kilometers of firewalls that prevent us from accessing social media, for example) and what we wear. Seriously, when did I turn 10 (again)?

Success doesn’t come from strict adherence to outdated rules. So if you want to be successful, why not practice a little civil disobedience while you’re getting your real work done? Go ahead, wear jeans on Thursday (though, you’re only supposed to wear them Fridays, you know). Post an update to Facebook or Twitter via your smartphone, during the day, while you’re supposed to be working! Even better, do this if you’re the leader!! Maybe, eventually, they – whoever is obsessing about the “rules” – will get it. Because it’s not about what times we’re in the office, the number of weeks of vacation we’re entitled to, whether (or not) we’re accessing non-business related websites (which ones are those, by the way?! Aren’t Facebook and Twitter examples of really successful businesses we should pay attention to?) or what kind of pants we put on this morning… it’s about the results.

It’s a simple choice, really. Give people the freedom to do their work in whatever way works best for them, and they’ll deliver. Obsess about the rules, and you’ll surround yourself with a bunch of children who can’t find their way out of your paper bag.