Just because your paycheck comes from the same organization, doesn't make you a team. It definitely doesn't make you a family. And tribe? Only in the febrile imaginations of bosses both lonely and hoping to distribute responsibility, often while nonetheless keeping a tight grip on authority.
Any organization bigger than one person, think a marriage for starters, has friction and inefficiency. One of the powerful findings of our work is any of us can stand in the same place at the same time with another, and, yet, take a different sample of the information coming toward us, (more or this here) And, all day long I work with individuals, starting with me, who have friction and inefficiency before anybody else gets involved,
What you have is a job. Whether you're the CEO, or after-hours security, you have a thing you do, a lane in which you do it, and a target for what success looks like. How often have you been in meetings that have kept you from doing your job? How often are you responding to messages delivered by no-matter-what media your organization has designated as go-to, that you perceive as taking you from doing your job?
We have jobs. From these jobs, we want dignity and fair compensation, And we want reasonable working hours to go home to our families, collectives, teams, and tribes of our choosing.
What do we need to do our jobs? Other people with jobs
We need clearly defined roles and responsibilities, updated as necessary, clear lanes and resources to execute those responsibilities, and unambiguous definitions of what success will look like from people whose jobs are to develop and disseminate this information.
Training and coaching
Information is necessary, but the more skill and experience a job requires, the more we need access to other people with these skills and experiences to help us develop more quickly and efficiently or to keep us from getting stale. None of these people need to be in the same organization.
The organization needs experts who can determine how well we're hitting the success target. This ties directly to our having clearly defined roles and responsibilities, clear lanes and resources to execute those responsibilities, and unambiguous definitions of what success will look like.
If I'm not meeting my targets, first the evaluator assesses the information including resources I have access to, then assesses the effectiveness of my training and coaching in order to improve the support provided to me for my job. After that, it's on me, because that's my job.
Because those other people are subject to the human condition, we need people whose jobs are to ensure we're treated honestly, fairly, and respectfully. If you want to motivate people, that's how.
Arbitrators are also necessary because my job is dependent on other people's jobs. This doesn't make us a team. We're participants in a supply chain. This makes us interdependent and usually without the authority to direct the other participants. This is why we have laws, regulations, contracts, and deadlines; but we also need people whose job it is to decide how to resolve the friction that occurs when, for you, delivering a product to me is your priority five, but receiving it is my priority one.
How would things change if your organization had this kind of clarity around the boundaries of people's roles and responsibilities? I think the first thing to happen is you'd spend less time in meetings and in responding to messages that weren't taking you away from doing your job.
For another time, I'll address what life is like for those of you whose job it is to choose among the roles you have right now, determine what lane you are operating within, and are the one who defines what success looks like for that role. And what life is like for co-creators: people whose job is not just to execute together, but to think and decide together. Marriage for starters.