Thursday, May 14, 2015

Entertaining Work

Perhaps the best part of work is getting things done, making progress, reaching good goals.

Remember the first time in school when you had a team assignment and you depended on the work of your teammates? Maybe it was a chemistry class assignment ... we hated it, mostly. We needed each to take responsibility and do their part, and it didn't work very well.

Ever thought about what happens when the players don't do their part?
  1. Timelines extend.
  2. Performance declines.
  3. Frustration rises.
  4. Goals morph.
  5. Excuses escalate.
  6. Blame erupts. 
  7. Higher ups complain.
  8. Stress increases.
  9. Good workers get thrown under the bus as 'good' reasons for the failure.
It's only funny from a distance.  If you're caught up in the middle of it, it's depressing.

So how might someone in the middle provoke reasonable progress?
The missing piece is LEADERSHIP, of course.
You can help the process.
  1. Identify and agree on the goal, the vision.
  2. Explain goals in the big picture.  What’s the purpose?  Who is impacted by success?
  3. Do your part and more.
  4. Get commitments.
    • What are you going to do?
    • When are you going to deliver it?
    • How will you achieve your goal?
    • When will you work on this?
    • What will you do if you realize you might fall short?
  5. Provide a path to success.
    • What resources do you need? How will you get them?
    • What skills might need developed?
    • Who needs to participate?
  6. Respond to sincere failure gracefully. But, before you do, examine excuses.
    • When did you realize you would fall short?
    • What did you do when you faced obstacles?
    • When did you begin working on this project?
    • What did you actually do? Don’t accept, “I did my best.”
  7. Create incremental milestones. Monitor progress; refine to goal.  
  8. Give feedback now, not after all the work is done.
  9. Don't throw people under the bus. Stand with people who fall short, if you are going to keep them on the team.
That's all leadership stuff, but somebody's gotta do it if we're going to reach the good goals.

Meaningful work and being able to benefit others with our effort is a great opportunity and worth doing well.  Passing the time, drawing a paycheck for minimal work isn't an adequate response, is it.   Serving well is more fun.