A few years ago I was preparing to teach a staff on focus and purpose as it pertains to our work. Somehow in our world with new advancements in technology I find that we have to remind ourselves that there is no replacement for good ‘ol hard work. If you are going to succeed in life, you will only do it, if you work hard. Which means we are engaged and absorbed with our work daily, instead of just going through the motions biding time. So as I thought on this subject, this Idea emerged. So here is what I taught. Gadberry’s “Workisms.”
1. While at work, work.
“Many will complain about their work day at the office when, in fact, they didn’t lift a finger or think a thought. That’s not work. I had something else in mind, the kind of work in which you are fully engaged, totally focused, and completely absorbed.”
– John Wooden
Its amazing to me how many things we can find to do at work, that have nothing to do with our work. I see this as one of the major problems in work/life balance. So many people are doing anything but working at work, and then have to take their work home and work after hours which causes problems with their families and overpowers their life. Just imagine how much work you could get done, if you were focused on work at work. Always remember as someone once said, “Procrastination is the assassination of motivation.”
2. While at work, work on work related to work.
While this is similar to the first it deals with what we are doing at work. Side projects, social opportunities, alternative ideas and non essential or unnecessary busy work may all be ok to do, it should not overtake your schedule at work while leaving the necessary, pertinent things undone. While you’re at work, or “on the clock” if you will, work on work that is related to your work.
3. Leave work at work when you go home from work
Now, I realize, as a leader and entrepreneur there are times that you office at home and times that you have to work late, etc. However there has to be a time when you turn it off. I truly believe if we will work the way we should at work, or during times of work, we will not be caught in the trap of always working. In order for your work to be truly productive, there has to be times of rest. Times where you can let your mind think on more important things than work. So when you return to it, you will have more clarity and energy to engage it at your highest level of potential.
4. Don’t interrupt another’s work with your work
This is a problem in a lot of work environments. There is definitely a time and a need to collaborate, but every minute is not the time. We should have times programed in our day for that, It seems there is always that person that thinks that what they are working on takes precedence over whatever anyone else is working on.
If they get stumped, instead of problem solving or thinking it through or moving on to something else and coming back to it, they insert themselves and their work into the sphere of someone elses focus. Breaking that persons focus and causing them to stop what they are doing, however time sensitive, and force them to think about what the stumped person is working on.
This is probably one of the hardest things to break. When you are in this place, make sure, before you interrupt someone else, that you exhaust every effort and then schedule the right time to get help, if you still need it. When you interrupt, you are saying to everyone that they and their work revolves around you, and thats not true of anyone, not even the executive leader. If you continue this, you will ultimately find yourself interrupting people on another job.
5. Think through your work then work out your thoughts
It seems to me that the pace of work today is like lightening. I think its important to remember that activity does not equal achievement. We are doing things so fast that we do them in passing. We lose excellence because of careless, over eager implementation without first thinking it through.
I find myself regularly training people to spend time thinking. In our current style of work we see thinking, and processing thoughts as a waste of time. However it is exactly what we need to be more more effective and efficient. If, you think things through and then work them out, you are less likely to waste time doing them over, or repairing them. So think through your work, and work out your thoughts.
6. When you work, consider how your work effects the work of the workers around you.
What I have found to be true, a lot of the time, is that we are excellent at focusing on our work. We can get really deep as it relates to what we are trying to accomplish. However because we are so focused on what we are responsible for we aren’t very wide.
We are deep, but not wide. In other words we are honed in on our efforts, our department, our objectives, but fail to see how our role and responsibilities affect the entire organization and those working in it.
To truly be effective in an organization, we have to see its interconnectedness and own it. Understand our department and how our department interrelates with other departments to produce the goal of the whole organization. No territorial thinking allowed. No possessiveness allowed. Know the Sum of the parts not just your part.
7. Work in a way that releases those working over you and empowers the workers under you and enhances the work of the workers next to you.
In other words be a 360 degree leader. A. To those who are leading you…Be easy to lead. Listen, contribute, cooperate, and be solution oriented.
B. To those whom you are leading…empower them. Be an effective communicator/connector. Give clarity, clearly stated objectives and expectations, and if you hired them to do a job, let them do it. Delegate effectively, follow up effectively, but don’t hover and don’t be muddled. If it takes you to stand over them, you made a bad hire.
C. To the people who are peers to you…Treat them like collaborators and comrades not like your competition. Stand shoulder to shoulder to take the goal.
8. Work with a workable attitude where all workers can expect you to work with them.
Attitude is so important. There is nothing worse than having a person on the team that no one wants to see coming. You know what I mean, the “no” guy. The person who feels like its their obligation to disagree with everything. Or, the Lazy bones. The whole team can be working on a project and you look around and this person is always disconnected, doing very little, but trying to act like they are heavily involved. We should have such a great attitude of cooperation that everyone on the team knows that we can be counted on to help every time.
9. Discipline your work, and work your discipline, so the worker over you does not have to work you over.
Consistency is key to successful work. It is one of the most important elements of true success. People who know where we are and the goal and what it is going to take to reach the goal, then every day do the things necessary to reach the goal. That is consistency and that only comes through discipline. Like I always told my kids growing up. “If you discipline yourself, I won’t have to discipline you.” Don’t make it someone else responsibility to get you going.
10. When you work with excellence then excellence will be visable in your work.
Excellence is key to success and significance. Excellence is not perfection but it is doing all you can to reach your top potential. People throw this term around a lot these days. However it is not something you say. Its something you do. You can say you and your organization are excellent all day long, but it doesn’t make it true. The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say. When you work with excellence, then excellence will be visible in your work.
So there you have it. Gadberry’s workisms. Hope that work for you!