A lot of stuff at work seemingly has no objective, and that sucks

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Don’t think I need to belabor this point: work is often a priority vacuum. The project objective? Make as much money as is humanly f’n possible and tell everyone how important that underscores you are. Of course, there’s a major problem with this approach. In a given for-profit company, only about 2 in 5 roles are even revenue-facing. There’s a lot of support staff stuff. If you don’t face revenue, but all anyone seems to care about is revenue, what exactly do you do to get your slice of the “I am relevant here I promise” pie? The main approach most people take is constantly telling everyone how busy they are, which makes some degree of sense. It also buries productivity in the flood, because busy and productive ain’t the same thing. (Shocking, really, how few people seem to understand that.) When productivity is dead, no one knows what the project objective — of any project, large or small — really is. Some research has shown that 50 percent of employees at enterprise companies do nothing of value all day. More: 21.4 million middle managers add no bottom-line value. Still more: these issues lose you about $15.5 million every year.

In short: most offices are a giant game of Who’s On First. Seemingly every project is urgent, which stresses the hell out of most front-line workers, even though the only thing urgent to executives is “find me a new revenue stream” and/or “show me and then explain to me these numbers.” Project objective? What’s that? Let’s just run around with our hair engulfed in flames screeching about this, that, or the other thing. Unfortunately, this is work to a lot of people. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have readers. And if it wasn’t, global employee engagement stats wouldn’t be in the toilet — and declining, somehow.

Do you even know what you’re supposed to work on all day?

What now?

First up: A quote from Kellogg

“I can’t think of very many organizations that create a very clear project objective for reflection,” Schonthal says. “Usually it’s ‘Go, go, go, go, go! What’s the next step? What’s the next step?’ Well, sometimes the best next step is taking a look back at what’s happened already.”

Yep. Nailed it.

What’s the simplest reason why this all happens?

A note on job role

Can we someday make the project objective clear?

And look, here’s a broader point: to a lot of people, the project objective doesn’t even matter. It’s not about the quality of the work or the priority of the work. It’s about controlling how the work is done, and over-focusing on the quantity that exists. That’s how many manage. It made sense in 1911 — we were an industrial production society then — but it makes a lot less sense now, unfortunately. And that’s why, in a given office, you’ll find 5 in 10 people who can’t name the project objective of whatever they’re working on.

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Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/hire-freelance-writer-ted-bauer/

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