June 12, 2017
I recently had an occasion where I needed family to help out with preparations for an event. One of the tasks that came up was the need to iron sixty white chair covers we hired just one day before the event. I had asked a young lady to do this task for me on purpose and I found out almost ten things she gave away without knowing (she is going to blacklist my blog for writing this Ha Ha Ha). I think most of them can be applied to the attitude of some people in the workplace.
Ironing sixty pieces of cloth is understandably a herculean task especially when it had to be done at the end of a long day which was expected to give birth to a new day of more work. She however did not bother to negotiate the terms of the task. Could she split them in two and share with someone else? Would I help? Were they all needed? Was it really necessary to have them ironed? She simply agreed to iron the sixty pieces of cloth even when, I suspect, she knew she was not going to finish the job. Negotiating correctly helps us avoid promising what we cannot deliver.
We were thought in school that the difference between an engineer and a Technician (with all due respect) is that an Engineer works mostly with his head and a Technician mostly with his hands. Strategy differentiates us from the crowd. How can this task be done most effectively? What process can I employ? Who do I need? What do I need? Taking the time to think through the tasks on our table could save a lot of time and produce better results. Get mentally engaged at your shop.
My subject failed to device an effective method of approaching the task before her. She simply attempted to approach the task as a straight forward ironing task. He approach may have worked for one shirt and a pair of trousers but sixty cloths? This required more skill. Skill differentiates us in the workplace when the nature and volume of the task before us changes. Learn the skills that will make you stand out when push comes to shove.
How many of these cloths did she work on? Maybe ten. One could forgive a subordinate would come and say, “I have gone half way and I am very tired, can I continue tomorrow?” Staying power shows commitment to delivery. Staying power shows professional pride. We often fail to stand out because we leave the office too early. We stretch ourselves too little. We give up too early. On a daily basis, drive your body further with determination.
My subject was not able to finish the task but she simply handed it over to Mom and went to bed. She had passed the buck and forgotten about it. This is quite understandable but a little irresponsible when done in the context of a workplace. How many times have you abandoned a task to a colleague and not bothered to check whether the task was completed of completed correctly? Your reputation is at stake. Take ownership of the tasks n your table and maybe more.
Granted, she handed over the job. Assuming I agreed to look this over it would be a little tricky because I did not actually know she handed over the job to someone else. Accountability for the task would have demanded that she report back to the owner of the task on her progress and her decision to delegate the task. Feedback to your boss means a lot. It shows you have respect for him and for the job on your table. Keep the reverse communication lines open with your boss, it pays.
You are absolutely right! There is no such expression, I just made it up. Environmental Awareness. This is how I choose to describe what my subject showed a lack of when she used the baby’s basket as the destination for the ironed cloths in view of the fact that that Baby Basket was likely going to be used the early following morning. Do not be so focused on your own tasks that you fail to see how it fits into the goals of the entire organization.
I will have to stop the bombardment here. Trust me, lady, I did not write this to spite you but I do believe there are lessons we can all learn from every encounter. Cheer up!