Work and Metawork

One of the most important things an organizational leader can do is to separate the work from the thinking about the work and to make sure that both sides are equally prioritized.

You want to do your work, in the moment, with focus, grace, energy, and acuity.  That’s the ballgame.

And as you’re working — usually through some kind of problem or another — you could (and should) be thinking about a number of things:

  • What caused the problem?  Is this a single mistake or something that’s emerging, predictably, from the way certain systems are set up?
  • Do the people involved in this problem have the skills that they need to solve it?  If so, can they help to train others?  If not, when and how can they be trained?
  • Is the solution to the problem able to be captured, shared, and scaled?  Who would want to know about it?  Are you inventing a wheel that does not, then, need to be reinvented elsewhere?
  • Is there opportunity built into the solving of this problem? Can you involve someone else to give them a growth opportunity (or to create one for yoursefl)?  Can you strengthen a tie in your network?  Will the solving be a story worth sharing either within your organization or within your industry?

Honestly, when emerging leaders ask me how to do their jobs better, my shorthand answer is: do the work and the metawork carefully.

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