In almost every corporation known to man, there are those who believe that the ability to sit at a desk for extended amounts of time requires talent and fortitude.

It doesn’t.

Yet in so many offices across the globe, there is a perspective that the person who can sit the longest is the person who is working the hardest. I noticed this throughout my service in the Air Force, known at times by other branches as the Chair Force…But even during Joint-service deployments I found the desk-sitting culture to be much more than just an Air Force tradition…it permeates the entire American bureaucracy, as well as the majority of private corporations in America today. If you’re reading this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve probably seen it in your office.

No matter how much work you accomplish…No matter how many reports you write, records you file, or good ideas you have…there will always be those who think that they are keeping up with you because they have sat at their desk longer than you. That’s because, as one of my military teammates once joked, “When you can’t measure output, you measure input.”

We need to recognize this phenomenon. Have you ever found yourself looking up to the teammates who sit at their desks the longest? Have you ever thought less of the individuals who told you they didn’t plan to come back after lunch on Friday because they had accomplished their tasks for the week?

If a corporation desires a productive culture, it must ensure that its workers are rewarded for their output. A worker’s quantitative input should not matter…neither to the individual, nor to the organization.

In order to foster a healthy corporate culture, we must foster an environment which rewards output over input. After all, sitting behind a desk longer than anyone else is not a competition any of us should want to win.


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