Tuesday, May 26, 2015

No Job Too Small

Photo by manuelwagner0 on Pixabay
Hey everybody, first I want to say thanks to everyone who answered my three questions from last week. Truly appreciate the feedback and ideas, and if you haven't had a chance, I would really appreciate if you could spend a minute answering the three quick questions.

Have you ever met someone who honestly thought that certain jobs at work were "beneath" him or her? Maybe it is making copies, answering phones, scheduling meetings, or other tasks that they refuse to do for some reason. That thought process does not make much sense to me and seems a bit too arrogant to have a place in a good collaborative environment.

That's not to say that in a broad team environment, some individuals should prioritize their time around activities that they do  have the skills to perform that others do not have. As a highly functioning team, other team members should also recognize what skills their team members do and do not possess and orchestrate tasks around those specialized skills. Such prioritization ensures that all the work gets done. But that recognition should be the organization's, either hierarchically (the boss can always delegate) or by consensus (we all agree you should spend today working on this instead of that). It should never be an individual's broad claim against equals.

For entrepreneurs, this is natural. Many entrepreneurs start with no employees. They wear every hat in the business, and learn the ins and outs of their business at every single level. Adding employees just adds tasks that also need to get done, whether payroll, human resources, coaching, or management. The entrepreneur knows that if she does not do the task, no one will. If some jobs are beneath her, the business will fail. (Tweet that)

"The entrepreneur knows that if she does not do the task, no one will. If some jobs are beneath her, the business will fail."
For those that hail from a more corporate environment, I'd challenge the theory as well. Again, the structure of the team and nature of the work may dictate a set of priorities of which some tasks may fall to certain team members. But if copies need to be made, no one should declare themselves better than the copy duties. As a business, it may be prudent to decide someone making $200,000 a year should not spend much time at the copier. But the person making that money is getting paid to drive the business, and that $100 per hour covers determining business strategy, making extremely difficult decisions, or clicking that copy button.

So the next time you encounter someone who won't do a certain type of work, or you think to yourself that something is beneath you, ask yourself where those feelings come from: what the business needs or what you want?