It’s good every now and then to take a moment to understand why you do what you do. It gives you an opportunity to insure that you’re actions are relevant to your core. The points below were developed in advance of participating on a career panel at my alma mater the Fuqua School of Business (Duke’s b-school) just over a year ago.
3 Types of Work
Bad Work: the aimless, pointless, mindless routine stuff that sucks you dry
Good Work: the focused necessary work… your job description
It’s comfortable, it’s what you’ve been trained to do. However, these days with emails, meetings and cross-functional organizations it can easily be overwhelming. The fire hose is always on – there’s simply too much.
Great Work: it matters, it makes a difference, it feeds a passion
Our professional survival depends on being stretched, challenged, and called forward to be our best. What it is different for each of us, but it’s impact is the same: it helps us grow and evolve.
Hedgehog-ology – getting your great
So how do you find what matters to you?
We are at our best when we work at the nexus of three dimensions – our passion, our brainless skill, and a resultant that people will pay to secure. Operating within this zone allows us to be unique, different, and create outstanding value.
For me it’s all about combining my passion for building structures with my expertise in business development, strategy, and finance to discover, analyze, and execute strategic options that realize a meaningful result – enhanced revenue, stronger alliances, and clarity of purpose. Three business lynchpins that most entities crave to better understand.
How did I push myself?
I took up the challenge of developing a for-profit venture within the environment of a traditional non-profit. The non-profit was approached by a global entity about collaborating to achieve a goal. However, when sporadic conversations produced no tangible agreement – yet plan – the sponsoring entity began to feel that the opportunity would go unrealized.
My task; salvage the opportunity. The first step was to build creditability and rapport with the sponsor – the good work. Next up authentic conversation and transparent action. This allowed me to connect with the visionary on his level, negotiate a seven figure ‘fee-for-service’ agreement, and design & execute a multi-faceted national project – the great work.
Even within this chapter of my career there was still bad and good work. It was just that I was fortunate enough to have a ‘great work’ split that was better than the typical 20/80 mixture.
And the rest
Is it simply the admission price? Yes and no, they are the things that need to be done – easy to see why they might be regulated to chore level – but more importantly these are the foundation that supports your great work. [WARNING sports analogy forthcoming] It is the equivalent of blocking-out, rebounding, and pick setting in basketball. All things that have to happen so that you’re in position to make that spectacular shot.
I took the liberty of flushing it out with more detail for this post so the points can be viewed within my intended context. After all, they were talking points and anyone that knows me realizes that I prepare extensively, synthesis the relevant knowledge to be shared, and then keep it to 3 core mutually exclusive points so as not to disrupt the conversational flow.
What’s your great work?