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  • Writer's pictureAcumen Learning

Two Hours of Overtime

Articles & Insights


Up at 5 am and off to the office two hours early to help your team finish up that big project that’s expected to be the next most pivotal moment for your company and personal career. Well, at least that is what you tell yourself as you race in and battle the daily grind. But do you really know if your two hours of overtime is good for your company? Like it or not, your seemingly insignificant decisions make a bigger difference than you probably think.

Regardless of your experience or level of influence, you have a measurable impact on the health of your company every time you make or don’t make a decision. And it’s not just the decisions themselves that have an impact, how you make those decisions have rippling effects across the company that will positively or negatively impact the financials. Make a decision too slow and you may miss an opportunity to capture more market share. Make a decision without enough research and you might end up launching a less than stellar product. From seemingly unimportant decisions to major product role outs, every decision makes a difference.

So how do you make sure you're making a positive difference? Think of your company like it’s one giant machine with many different levers – when someone from HR pulls a lever it impacts how the machine operates whether you like it or not. Likewise, someone from IT can change the output of the machine by simply pulling a lever. Pull the wrong lever, or pull it at the wrong time, and the machine simply doesn’t produce its potential. To consistently make a positive difference you need a better understanding of the machine (your business) and a better understanding of what happens when you pull a lever (your decisions).

Your two hours of over-time to complete a project is a seemingly small decision, but what about the impact of fifty or even hundreds of individuals requiring two hours of over-time? Now we are looking at a significant impact to the bottom-line and the way the business makes, or does not make, money.

The shortsighted manager in charge of the overtime lever will insist that the customer is counting on their team to put them first and complete the project as originally proposed… and so they pull the lever. The manager with business acumen is digging deeper because he or she understands how the decision to work overtime is impacting the company as whole… Are we setting the right expectations up front? Do we need more training on contract negotiations? Do we need to better communicate internally about project priorities? They’re using their business acumen to tap into the right processes, people, and resources to improve their decisions.

The more you know and understand the business, the more you are inclined to adjust your decisions to positively impact the bottom-line. Perhaps today was more of a pivotal moment in the company and your career than first thought. And to think it came down to a better understanding of the impact that two measly hours of over-time has on your company.


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