What about your work is important, valuable and innovative?
Posted April 17, 2009on:
Day One at Xoozya (cont’d)
“So what is my first goal”, I said to the HR Director. “The amount of work on my desk is expanding exponentially and I’ve only been here a few hours. I must find an avatar, explore the communication system, and map my skills set.”
What are your priorities? I know you will say get settled, but all employers say that, and they don’t mean it. What do you want done by when?”
Kick the habit of looking to managers for goals
“Well, Goal One” Peter said, “is to kick the habit of looking to managers for goals. We are not here to set goals. We provide an arena or framework for you to work, alone if you like and with other people if you wish. We are a huge company and you can work with whomever you choose and with whomever chooses to work with you.”
Acknowledge your own judgment
“That’s stressful at first because it feels as if you have no boundaries. And to feel oriented, we all need boundaries.”
“But you do have boundaries. You’ve made choices all your life. You’ve attended to some things and ignored others. In your judg ment, some things are important and command your attention.”
“We will ask you to do a third task. We will leaving your avatar to the end of the month. In addition to exploring the communication system and thinking about your skill set, you have a third task, which is this.
What it important, valuable and innovative about your current project?
“Write down what you are working on now. And then tell me
- Why this project is important to you
- Why you think is is valuable
- Why you think it is innovative.
Why do you feel vital and alive when you are working on this project and why do you believe it adds vitality and quality to the way we live?”
“Let me give you an example.
Today, a young post-graduate in Sydney, Marsha Gittens, published a post in Brazen Careerist on what she wants from work– her career must-haves. She wants money, good leadership, perks, etc. We all want the same things but right now the financial benefits of the corporate world are uppermost in her mind because she is making the change from being a student, with all that entails, to being a member of the corporate world, and all that entails.
But financial rewards are not her project. The move from the student world to the corporate world is her project and we are all better off if we acknowledge that openly. She will spend the next year or two finding out where she fits into the corporate world and she wants to know how roles are structured, what these roles involve, and how important they are to other people. At the end of the year she will have done well if she has gained this knowledge that she does not have now. Much of this knowledge can only be gained from the inside. From being in a company. From working on a team. From doing a job and getting her hands dirty.
“So she will not move as a spectator. She moves as a player and she is looking for assignments that will give her the combination of overall understanding and hands-on experience consistent with her skills.
“You sought membership of Xoozya for reasons you told us when we recruited you, and for reasons you’ll have kept to yourself. Whatever has been put on the table, at this juncture in your life, there is something you want to achieve and you believe that we are the tool for you to achieve it. There are resources you expect to find here and that you will look for.
The young Australian post-graduate wants to find her toe hole in the corporate world. To do that she needs to understand the corporate world.”
“You are mid-career and you want . . . what? Describe what you came here to achieve. What are you working on and why did you believe that we have the resources you need.”
“What we suggest you do is write down your current project and answer those three questions.
- What about the project is important to you?
- Why do you believe it is valuable?
- What about the project is truly innovative? Why is it so important to be doing this work now and what about it is so special that it cannot be ignored?
Then we’ll talk again. How about this time next Friday?”
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And PS, if you are new to this blog, Xoozya is an utterly fictitious organization. This series began on the spur of the moment as I started to explored the principles of games design and Ned Lawrence of Church of Ned mentioned how much time people put into designing their avatars, or online identities. Xoozya is an attempt to imagine what an organization would look, sound and feel like if it were run along lines recommended by contemporary management theorists.
And PPS Ned is an online writing coach and is available for hire.