What can you learn from this mug of tea? Assuming you work in the adminisphere, and are therefore an adminisphereaucrat for short, look at the work you are doing and know three things.
- You are not “frontline”, front office or a core service, however it is described in your organisation. This is work that directly makes something a customer wants or needs.
- If you are doing work that either (i) enables a frontline/front office/core service to do its work at all or (ii) helps them to do it better in any way, then you are doing support work. Support work is not necessarily admin, or typing or email dictation. It is anything that helps or enables.
- If you are not doing either of those, then you are not doing work.
You may think you spend a lot of hours at work, but work is not a place. You’ve heard that, right? But work is not an activity either. Work is activity required by the organisation to deliver value to the customer, by either directly creating value, or enabling or improving it. Anything else cannot be considered work if it doesnt enable or make happen better. It’s just stuff.
- Standing in a queue at the work cafeteria is not work.
- Whistling at the mens urinal is not work.
You know that, but also…
- Sitting at your desk typing emails is not work.
- Talking to people in meetings is not work.
None of these things in themselves are work. Work is the stuff that helps the customer.
- If talking to people in meetings is part of making service happen better then youre doing work.
- If your emails are part of an activity to make your products or services happen better, then you’re doing work.
- If you are thinking about how to help improve products or services whilst whistling at the men’s urinal, then youre doing work.
- If you are standing in the queue at the work cafeteria talking to someone about how a new method could be experimented with in a service, then you are doing work.
This mug can help you once you know if you are doing work or not. If you arent, then stop whatever it is you are doing, and try and start working instead.
If you are working then:
- Think purpose. Are you doing the right thing? What is the purpose of what you are doing? Is it the right thing? There is nothing worse than doing the wrong thing righter and righter. What larger system are you a part of that you have to work within? Who is the end customer, what matters to them, what are they asking for?
- How well you are achieving purpose? This is not necessarily what your manager thinks of your work. Measures of purpose help you understand how well you are doing and help you improve.
- Think method. Are you doing things right? What are the inputs to your work, where do you get it from, and how well can you work with the people who provide the inputs to make the work flow better? What are the outputs of your work, who do they go to, how are they used, what do they need it for? Work with these people so that what you do helps them ultimately help the customer. Experiment.
With these points in mind, concentrating on purpose, measures and method you too can leave The Adminisphere and once more become a useful member of society.
Keep systems thinking, and have a lovely day!