Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Job

My job is simple.  I go to meetings and drink coffee.  Lots of meetings and probably too much coffee.  The day becomes an endless stream of conversations woven into a fibre.  A fibre used to bind ideas and people into actions.

Sometimes the conversations are quick snippets in a hallway to touch base.  Other times it's the full two hour marathon group meeting with a sea of brilliant minds contributing to the idea pot.  There are happy congratulatory chats and darkly serious budget banter.  The detailed projected benefits email, the text message from the coffee line-up, and the surreptitious tweet during a meeting are all part of the fibre.

Lots of variety - different people different topics different issues.  Finding consistency in the constant exchange is hard.  A manager can't just treat each chat as a random separate event.  Even if you considered each conversation an independent transaction, the volume makes adding value in a disciplined way impossible.  You could try structuring your day around key projects, but there are too many other folks outside your sphere of influence to make it feasible.

But what if you developed a set of basic principles or core competencies?  You could apply some rules like "treat everyone with respect" to each conversation.  That's a good start, but not enough. Principles don't establish schedules.  In a day of constant conversational transactions, how do figure out what to do next?  How do you set guidance for your staff?

Start with principles to create consistency and then set your priorities.  Go through the day with few precedence rules.  The fewer priorities, the better.  I go through the day with just one priority: how is our organization going to be the best?  So each conversation goes through that single filter.  How can each transaction help make us the best?

My priority is to move my agenda forward.  Sounds selfish?  It isn't because all our clients benefit from us being the best.

Now ... its time for another coffee.


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