Blog 169 - Don’t let social loafing suck the life out of your business

Don’t let social loafing suck the life out of your business

Your people are capable of so much more.

It’s not uncommon to be frustrated by the performance of people within your team. It’s OK to grind your teeth about how much more of a burden this puts on you, the business leader or manager.

When you install individual accountability processes in your business you can claw back as much as 20% in productivity.

To look at that the other way around – your team could be working 20% harder than they are now, but because they don’t have to account for their actions they aren’t.

Here’s the profound yet simple insight:

Way back in the 1880s Max Ringleman (a French anthropologist) experimented on the effectiveness of individuals versus the effectiveness of teams.

He attached a rope to a dynamometer and got volunteers to pull their hardest, like a one-sided tug-of-war.

The average force for one man was 85.3 kilograms.

Ringleman wondered if, with 2 men, the force would be 170.6 kilograms, 255.9 kilograms with 3, and so on up to 8 men.

The result surprised him and everyone else! The total force went up with each new man. But the average per man went down!

Ringleman poetically called this phenomenon ‘social loafing’.

Ringleman’s social loafing showed how a team of 8 pulled less than 80% of the aggregated work of individuals pulling alone. A fifth of the effort went AWOL, more than 20% of effort disappeared!

This is like your team working a four-day week instead of five!

This means more than 40 work-days per year lost, for every person in your team (ignoring holidays, that’s 2 months’ work!).

And it’s possible your team is already experiencing social loafing and, even though they turn up for five days, they only do the equivalent of a four-day week! It’s hard to spot it of course (they may not even notice it themselves) but the result is profound…

As the saying goes: “’Tis easy to expand the work to fill the time”

Which means that it’s also possible, at no cost to you, to turn a four-day week into five.

What could you do with 40 more-person days (per person) this next 12 months? And at no extra cost!

Worthy of your attention? Worth taking some action?

Click here to address the social loafing in your business

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