When is the last time you looked at your job description? Do you have one? If you’re a business owner, you may never have written yourself one beyond, ‘Chief cook and bottle washer.’
When job descriptions are written, typically it is in an ideal bubble, where someone thinks through what needs to be done, and who is the best person to do it.
Then reality hits.
Ambitious employees keep very busy doing what needs to be done and what they are asked to do. This is admirable and necessary in the short term. But, continuing this way will create a very reactionary culture in an organization. Being too busy becomes the excuse for staying in urgent mode, and never moving to the more strategic and important components of the job.
Certainly, there is a need to be somewhat flexible and adaptable, since not all tasks, scenarios and activities can be foreseen in a job description, and being the person to jump in and get things done is very valuable. However, strategic activity is what moves the company forward through and out of the day-to-day of today and into future and greater success.
Take a moment to think about the key strategic roles that you need to play in your current position:
- What needs to get done consistently, but often gets pushed to the back burner?
- What are the things that you’d like to be able to do in your role, but rarely find time for?
- Who would you communicate with more routinely if you had the time?
- Where, or to whom, should you give more feedback?
- For what meetings or milestones would it make sense to spend more time preparing?
- In what areas would it make sense to measure current performance more accurately?
- What are you doing to make things work better and more efficiently?
- Strategy is by nature forward-looking and focuses on improvement. What is your role in improving systems and processes, beyond routinely executing them well?
- What are the most key components of what you do that impact your customers?
- When do you spend time on activities that impact future operations?
- What is your role in consistent improvement of operations, which continues when cash flow is good and things are running smoothly, AND when times are tight and crises are occurring?
- Which components of your job may not be noticed if you don’t do them, but detract from overall success of the organization if they get pushed aside? (safety committee, staff meetings or daily huddles, improving a process that isn’t broken to stay ahead of the competition, team building activities, and professional development for strong employees – all may be included in this category)
- Look at your individual professional goals for 2013. Do they reflect the strategic components of your job? Have you made more progress in those areas or on the goals that revolve around routine daily activities?
No doubt you’re busy, doing important work and doing it well. At the same time, ask yourself what strategic components of your job description have you let slide, and what priority will you put on bringing one or two back into the forefront?