Is it scalable and sustainable?

“A successful product may not be scalable, a successful process always is” - Faisal Khosa

As part of my job I get to see how people go about their work. Not surprisingly, the extremes range from very good through to very bad. While a number of factors come into play in determining whether an approach is good or bad, a good place to start is to ask: “Is it scalable and sustainable?”

A recent study of 1,000 workers in the USA found that one out of every five employees who were highly engaged with their work suffered from burnout. That’s quite scary because there's a limited future when we're not scalable or sustainable. The prospect of achieving targets or even remaining employed in severe cases are slim.

For instance, improvement is limited without scalability. There's nothing wrong in not reaching your potential if that's all you aspire to. However, it’s likely that targets will increase year on year. That’s why worker performance can trend backwards once workers who are unable to scale further reach their tipping point.

However, success is also limited without sustainability. There are capable workers who simply underperform. Everything is fine while they’re performing at a high level, but results suffer when they’re not. They might be: 

  • Brilliant for moments
  • Great for a week
  • Good for a month

Workers need to have an approach to how they work that enables them to be both scalable and sustainable. The signs when something isn’t quite right are:

  • Target achievement is inconsistent
  • There’s a sense of overwhelm
  • Energy levels fluctuate
  • Work isn’t fun

In order to be scalable and sustainable, workers need to:

  • Be really efficient while having alignment to their particular strengths and preferences
  • Focus efforts on the priorities that matter
  • Have a way to work that unlocks the individual’s potential
  • Be masterful at execution
  • Integrate work with a healthy lifestyle

Our work habits underpin how effectively we work. Don’t underestimate the importance of this. Are yours scalable and sustainable?