In this brief video, E.piphany founder Steve Blank describes the company’s culture of late nights at work, and the epiphany he had after leaving at 7:00 one evening for a meeting outside the office. His realization, upon seeing employees leaving—starting with his direct reports and cascading down—once he was gone, was not surprising. He had fostered a culture that valued time worked rather than results. He concludes by saying, “If you’re there at 11:00 at night, either we’re giving you too much to do, or you’re not very good at your job, so which one is it?”
As change practitioners, there are a few important messages here. First, what is the culture that leaders and sponsors—right down to first-level managers—are fostering? Is it one of work, or one of results? Related to that question, what are they telling others about the importance of the change we are supporting? How they spend their time, the questions they ask, the conversations they hold, the non-verbal messages they send, are often more telling than the words they say. What are they doing to show their commitment to the outcome of the change, or are they? Finally, what is the message that we are conveying? Is it about how hard we work, or the results we are producing?