Not Your Job

October 2, 2008

Negotiating layers of the organization to get approvals for your project is not your job

…but without it those initiatives might not get the resources they need. So negotiate quickly and fairly and only with those whose support is actually needed to get the job done.

Taking care of the people on your team is not your job

…but if you don’t do it, you won’t be able to get your job done (or a decent reference for another job!)

Making sure there are lots of high-fives and smiles on the sales floor is not your job

…but if you do your job it’ll happen.

Finessing megabytes of data into a nicely formatted PowerPoint about results is not your job

…but it might help others understand what you’re doing to impact the business. With that knowledge they could be more effective support. So get it done quickly, effectively, and in a way that doesn’t interfere with your job.

Your job mostly has to do with things ‘out there’ beyond the boundaries of your organization. Maybe you send messages to people out there about your products or services. Maybe you listen to people out there about what their needs are. Maybe you’re out there on the street or on the phone, selling to people out there. You could be developing a five year-strategy; much input will be from people in here, but if the five-year strategy isn’t mostly about what’s out there you risk failure.

Yes, most of your time is spent in here. In the office, on the phone, in your inbox, working with people in your organization. It’s easy to mistake that for your job. It’s not.

Your job is making money by communicating, providing or building value. For people out there. Nobody can get paid until that happens. How much of your day do you spend focused on what’s going on out there?

Photo by jocke66

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2 Responses to “Not Your Job”

  1. JVS Says:

    “How much of your day do you spend focused on what’s going on out there?”

    Great point. Not enough, in my case, which means I’m losing money and losing my firm money. Two problems arise though, which are probably related. The first is that “in here” is so ubiquitous that it’s harder with each passing year to get “out there.” The second is that not only is it easy for you to mistake “in here” for your job, it’s also really easy for the rest of the business, including management, to mistake it for your job. So how do you sucessfully blow off/blow up this wrongheadness about what your job is? Is it just the courage to have the discipline to do so?

  2. rsomers Says:

    Thanks James – it’s definitely not easy. If I had the key, I’d be a wealthy guy.

    The ‘with each passing year’ comment highlights something I’ve wondered about. It seems like there’s a lifecycle for effectiveness, with long-term employees sometimes becoming less effective over time.

    I do think the word ‘discipline’ is a key one. Keeping the issue in mind, raising the question “what about the customer” and focusing at least a percentage of each day’s time on external issues are things I do. Do they help me be more effective? I don’t know…ask my customer.


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