I’m a big fan of Adam Grant, Wharton Management Professor – Organizational Psychology. He has spent his entire career studying how people work, motivation and happiness.

In an article in the Wall Street Journal by Te-Ping Chen, Grant cited two distinct reactions to the challenges leaders have been facing in the workplace:

  1. Those who are working to figure it out and create a more gratifying and productive workplace, and
  2. Those who have been resisting the change and risk allowing their fear to hold them back

According to Grant, he urges us to think of this situation as a scientist would. Your opinions could be considered hypotheses and your decisions can be an experiment you run. Basically, keep trying things and refining until you begin to find what works. And that doesn’t mean you are “one and done”.

Keep refining as things continue to evolve and work to strike a balance between what employees say they want and what you need for the business.

I spent most of my career with a Fortune 500 company who first experimented with a “4-10’s” weekday policy. We would work Four 10-hour days for two weeks and then have the second Friday off. This was a bit awkward to get used to – not only for the employees but also for their managers. Each person was assigned to the “A” or “B” team to allow leadership to balance needs.

Did it work beautifully? Not always. Did it improve employee satisfaction? Most definitely.

What about long term? As one example – employees were urged to use their “off” Fridays to handle doctor’s appointments and other personal commitments. That worked well initially, but when doctor’s offices and other service providers started closing on Fridays in some cities – the policy was not always serving its intended purpose.

This is where the policy adjustments come in. If a policy is working well AND productivity is steady along with quality of work – the policy is working as designed. When you start to see any significant desired outcomes at risk, it is time to reconsider.

Depending on your generational perspective, you may feel that other generations are just not as dedicated as yours. At the heart of it all – no matter what generation – is meaningful work, good pay, and getting recognized and promoted for our hard work and skills.

When you don’t recognize or keep up with changes in what your team or the business needs, you will more than likely default to leading from fear. You will always be trying to get back to “what was” instead of looking forward to “what can be”. Your role as a leader is to keep refining those hypotheses and experiments to continually respond to changes in needs and wants.

If this topic interests you, you might want some insights into your resiliency and personal power. Feel free to take my complimentary quiz here.