2 occasions to use a person specification; 3 ways to select with job descriptions

Job descriptions ~ good and bad

I picked up a reference to a job description for a Social Network Manager in the White House.  I don’t know if it is a spoof.  I repeat it here because my first reaction was, “Hey, this is a good job description.  I’ll file it away.”

Job descriptions vs person specifications

Then I looked at it more closely.  It is not really a job description.  It is a person specification.

Job specifications that are neither excellent nor strong

And it is not a good person specification.  Each line refers to an expectation that observers may have of the job holder and to a standard that is unanchored.  “Excellent”, “Strong”, and so on are intuitive standards that are believed to be commonly held but are obviously not as the writer was unable to articulate them.

Happy working relations begin with good job descriptions

If you want to be happy with you staff, then it is up to you to describe the job.  Let them see what they have to do. They will have a fairly accurate idea of whether they can do it or not.

When to use person specifications

Person specifications are useful under one of two conditions.

Scenario 1.   The mammoth unchanging organization. You have hired and filled the job over the decades and have objective records of the measurable qualities of the applicants and their subsequent job performance.  The measurable qualities are likely to be in the form of psychological tests.  After all, how else would we keep bureaucratic records spanning thousands of people and dozens of HR managers?

Scenario 2.  A rich leading organization.  In this scenario, it  is extremely unlikely that the applicant has any idea how to the job.  You are recruiting ‘noobes’ and you have the time and resources to train and give a grace time of several job cycles to learn and perfect the job.  Under these conditions, we extrapolate (preferably with the help of objective records or otherwise with commonsense) to qualities that allow a person to learn to do the job that we will show them how to do.  This technique is especially useful when we want to diversify the people in our organization and recruit people who would not normally consider working for us.

When to use job descriptions for selection

When you are in neither scenario, just write out an accurate account of what you want done.  Let people see it. They will self-select.

#1 If you are left with no takers, maybe rethink what you want done.

#2 If you are left with a handful of takers, interview each one and confine the discussion to what you want done.  You will soon find out who has the strongest knowhow.  Leave other discussions for your security check and get a third party to do that (with your preferred candidate’s knowledge and cooperation, of course).

#3 If you are overwhelmed by competent people wanting your job, then use social media!  Start a forum and let the applicant discuss the job with each other.  You may learn a lot.  To be sure, when they think more deeply about the position, many will recuse themselves. Add some voting too like they use on Stackoverflow.  The candidates will quickly tell you who is competent.  So will their pattern of voting.   You will spot gaming in an instance.

Here is the job description

Maybe it is spoof.  I didn’t check.  Follow

* Excellent writing and editing skills with strong attention to detail; your writing is strong, sharp, and personable

* Strong organizing and campaigning instincts; you can craft messages that move people to act, and you know what actions will achieve the right impact at the right time

* Strong familiarity with social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.

* Ready to work hard; this isn’t a 9-5 sort of job

* Ability to work under deadline pressure

* Ability to manage multiple complex projects

* Passionate about engaging millions of Americans in advancing President Obama’s agenda and changing the country

* Candidates must be willing to relocate to Washington, DC

Preference given for experience with:

* Online organizing experience with an electoral campaign, advocacy organization or non-profit

* Complex project management

* Experience using social media for organizing

UPDATE:  Here is the link to the original on mybarackobama.com.  It follows the format we might expect beginning with the wider picture and then a two sentence description of why the job exists.  Again it leaves the exact parameters of the job in the shadows. HRM for organizations with ‘strong internal labour markets’ [when everyone is promoted from within] is quite different from HRM for organizations who have ‘weak internal labour markets’ and appoint from without.

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Choose to have a dream job. Write your dream job description now

Frustrated at work?

There are certainly times in life when we need to knock the dust off our feet and not look back.  But you have invested a lot in this job and you shouldn’t put it aside unless your next job is really worth another learning curve.

You shouldn’t live with frustration either. You aren’t nice to live with when you are frustrated!

Write your dream job description

Today, I played with a simple technique – I wrote my dream job description – in as much detail as I would if I were writing one professionally for a client.

The idea is that we cannot make a dream come true unless we imagine it. We still have to make it come true but first we must imagine the goal in technicolor detail.

Write your dream job description ~ don’t just daydream

And we must write down our dream.  Rarely do we write down our dreams, our draw them if we prefer.

We have to write down your dream to experience three things.

  • We aren’t clear on so many details.
  • We see we are hung up on details that aren’t terribly important.
  • Once we’ve done some work, we feel as if we are looking at a flower coming into bloom.

A bit of thinking often resolves the details.  We can abandon fixating about details that are just frills.   And we have a surge of relief at energize seeing our dream in front of our eyes.

Get moving on those baby steps!

Date your job description, store it away carefully, and get on with the next step!

Put aside everything that is does not take you towards the life you want!  Remember the dreams create the energy we need to act.  Then act we must.  Dreams are nothing until we take our first unsteady steps.

Review in a month ~ you’ll surprise yourself

Get Google Calendars to send you an email reminding you to reread it in 1 month.  You will be surprised at how far you have come!

 

Ah! I forgot. A structure for you.  Write your job description in five parts.

Situation [your boss’ concerns or it you running your own company ~ the company]

Mission [your overall goal that encompass the work of all your reports and contributes to your boss’ goal]

Execution [the goal for each of your direct reports]

Administration [the resources you and your reports will need to complete this mission]

Communication [the meetings you will have to assess your progress]

The honeymoon is over? Should I stay in this job?

Reviewing the situation . . .

There are moments in every project when we have to take stock.  Suddenly, we have details evey where, probably in a big mess.  Then, we ask ourselves, where exactly are we going?

It’s so tempting to walk away.  And, if you work for someone else, it’s easy to blame them for blocking you in!  The truth is that if you worked for yourself, you would reach the same point.  But this time you would sort out your crisis of confidence for yourself.

An example of rebuilding your own confidence

Let me give you an example of my blog.  Well, a blog is just a blog, you say.  That is true.  But if you are a knowledge worker, your blog is important.  It shows off your work and it gives you critical Google juice!

As we get better at blogging, we have to fine tune the content and look.  And we have to get a bigger bang for our buck – or better return for the time we put it!

So let’s use this as an example!

Last unsuccessful time

The first time I tried to tidy up my blog, my project was not a success!  I just started with the list of  posts and tried editing and re-classifing posts one by one.  It was bitty and it was horrible.

This successful time

This time, I began differently.

  • I sketched out what I want my blog to look like on a dummy server on my computer.  I selected 5 topics that I think will be important in the next two years. I had something to aim at.
  • Then I used some basic psychology.  I began with old categories that had few entries, reread the posts, tidying them up a little, and sometimes added updates and some better tags.
  • Then I reclassified the post into 1 of my 5 new categories.  Sometimes it was hard to choose but to choose one out of 5 is not too much of a tax on working memory and doesn’t get overwhelming.
  • When the category was empty, I deleted it!  Reward ~ I can see progress as the old list of categories grows shorter quickly!
  • Finally, I Stumbled my old posts, getting some basic traffic and learning a little about Stumbleupon as I went along.

I am enjoying my work!

  • The work is going smoothly ~ I can see what I am doing as I do it!
  • I am seeing progress!
  • I do it whenever I have a break from other projects.

It’s not done though.  I have 500 posts to sort and at a pace of 5 a day, which is a cracking pace, the job will take me three months.  Is that too much to ask to sort myself out?

Maybe the trick is not to wait for your boss to sort out your job.  Couldn’t you begin to sort out your job yourself?

Here are four basic steps

  • Write out your perfect job description (and keep it private of course)
  • Without disturbing your current job, take little pockets of your job (my small categories), and polish up those areas to match your future job description
  • Submit those improvements to your boss for his admiration and gratitude (:-) being realistic of course what is worth someone elses admiration and gratitude.
  • And plug on!  You know where you are going!

The trick though is to write the perfect job description. That’s the hard part.  Upcoming.  Turn over!  That’s next!

Ask your Chief Social Officer 5 questions

I love a good protocol.  Today (Saturday),  Harvard Blog published 5 ways social media will challenge your business.  I’ve rewritten the list as the opportunities we should be look out for.

The list will work as a job description for your Chief Social Officer. Or, a  checklist for your Social Media Consultant.  Or, to focus the minds of employees who are dead keen to use Social Media in your business.

And if you cannot answer these questions, pick out a clutch of bright Gen Y in your company and ask them to answer them for you.

1  Where and how can we use social media tools, and where and how can we run our business much more easily (and lucratively)?

<        Tool                             Example                                                    >

<         Socially mediated linkages affecting our industry       Tools>

2  What issues might arise from social media (whether we use it deliberately or not) and how can we respond?

<          Situation                         Protocol, people & tools to respond >

3  How do our customers enjoy helping us and helping each other?

<          Example                                 Tools & resources to help them >

4  How do our employees enjoy helping us and who do we talk to away from work?

<          People we talk to                                        Resources we need >

5. When and where do we discuss the usefulness of our procedures for our business?

<          Discussions we have                     Key factors of our business >

Beating the odds in recruitment and selection

338187446_682b87504a_mOne of the biggest complaints we hear from businesses is that they cannot hire the skills they want in the UK market.  It’s called the talent war.

I want to show you a simple calculation I did for someone that might explain what is giving you a headache in your recruitment and selection.

Person specification

This little firm was looking for ‘partners’ to work in a role similar to agents or franchisees.  Their partners don’t have to have any particular qualification, so they should be easy to recruit.  After a little thinking and talking, this is what we came up with.

  • The partners don’t have to be super-bright,  just normal bright and have finished high school .
  • The partners should be energetic & persistent and are likely to have demonstrated this energy by excelling in competitive sport, the arts, or some activity that has required them to make a clearly great effort than their peers.
  • The partners should be entrepreneurial.  They should have a history of trying things out and be just as happy when things don’t work out.  They are curious.
  • The partners need to be honest.  I don’t mean financially meticulous – I mean wanting to deliver a good service.  They are likely to have done something well in the past even when people around them wanted to take shortcuts.

Running the numbers

Now we can add some figures to this model and here is where you might get a surprise.

Let me remind you of some figures.

  • The midpoint on any characteristic divides the world 50:50.
  • The next step up divides the world 83:17.
  • And then next level up divides the world 97:3.

These splits correspond to 3 standard deviations on the right hand side of a normal curve.  You might recall that?  We could use finer divides but we will start with these to get a preliminary fix on where we are going.

Intelligence

The people we are looking for do not have to be super intelligent.  University and above is at the 83:17 divide.  We are happy at the 50:50 divide.  Below that, people may have trouble filling in commercial documents.

Energy & persistence

We are looking for someone who stood out in some way – played at the highest levels of school sport, for example, or raised a lot of money for charity, or even did well at academics.  Probably at the 97:3 split.  Someone who took a big prize at school.

Curiosity

These people don’t wait for someone to tell them what to do.  They work things out and find new opportunties.  They aren’t people for the sausage-machine of institutions. They are the people who make us think, “I wish I had done that”, or “How did you think of that?”  And they view setbacks as adventures.  97:3

Honesty

Unusual levels of integrity and sincerity.  At least once in their lives, they’ve done something properly when people around them were spinning, skiving or taking shortcuts.  97:3

How many people in the UK fit this description?

There are 30 million people in UK of working age.  How many of them fit this description and are candidates for our recruitment and selection drive?

Half of them have the intelligence required: 15 million

3% of the top half of intelligent people are very energetic and persistent : 450 000

3% of these have unusual levels of entrepreneurial spirit or curiosity:  13 500

3% of these have the commitment to integrity that we need: 405

(and this is from aged 16 to 65 – 405 people in the UK match our specification).

And how many of the right people are looking for a job?

Well, first of all let’s look at turnover.  It is usually 14% a year in the UK and that includes the high churn sectors like hospitality and catering.  Even if we bump up the turnover rate arbitrarily to 20% for the recession, we have only (.2 x 400) =80 people in our group who are looking for a job.

And of course some of these are doctors and lawyers, and some people are in the wrong sectors or wrong part of UK.  They are not available to be recruited or selected by us.

Not many left are there?

Shocking isn’t it?

I am used to the process of selection and to these numbers, yet they still shock me.  So please find my error and dm me.  I am hoping you will find my mistake because the numbers are shocking.

My point – and it is a serious point –  is that you cannot have one demanding requirement after another.

There simply aren’t enough people in the UK to meet your demanding needs.

There aren’t enough exceptional people in the economy to run it if is based on exceptional talent.

Our businesses need to run with normal people.

  • When we are selecting, it’s best to set the minimum requirements of the job, preferably from the candidate’s point of view, and begin there. Trim your list.  Ask, “Is this feature absolutely required,  and if so why?”
  • Stop adding requirement after requirement!  No more than three requirements!
  • After that, be ruthless in thinking about this recruitment assignment from the candidate’s point of view.

Ruthless in thinking about selection from the candidate’s point-of-view.

No one taught you that at uni, did they?  Yep, we like to keep some secrets to ourselves.

But now, it’s yours.

Review your HR specifications.  And keep it real.  Let your competitors be the ones to live in the world of make-believe.

5 lame excuses in HR for bad job descriptions

I’ve been in UK for two years now and frankly, I find the HR documentation here well. . . what euphemism shall I use  .  . . undeveloped.

From time to time, I’ve been sufficiently unwise to comment – and these are the excuses I get, sometimes concurrently, a dazzling tightrope of logic.

Excuse 1 : We are too chaotic

Turnover is so high that we cannot keep up with the documentation.  So we issue poor documentation or none at all.

Excuse 2: We are learning

Nobody knows what will be done in the job.

Excuse 3 : Not made here

This is the system we have worked out.  That must count for something.

Excuse 4 : We can fudge it

Well, we will put in a clause “And any other task required by the Head of Department”.  90% of work comes under that clause.

Excuse 5 : If we are sufficiently muddled, we can shift the blame

I know I didn’t mention it but it is on page 56 or in the middle paragraph of an email addressed to someone else and copied to you.

Beginner’s dilemma

I remember years ago, one of my former students asked to see me at my house on a Saturday morning.  He had been given a rough talking to be a line manager at work and he didn’t really understand what he was doing wrong.  “I just took him some forms to fill in,” he said,”and the guy laid in to me”.

My reply was to ask whether he was a high-paid messenger boy.  Did the organization need a graduate to move forms from one point in the organization to another?

What the organization needed was an intelligent, thoughtful, informed person to ask the line manager questions in the line manager’s language, translate into HR-speak, fill in the form and return it to the line manager for signing.

And the line manager should look at it and look up with a shine in his eyes, and say: “Oh, that’s what this is for!”

The line manager should feel that scales have fallen from their eyes. They should see the work they do as clearly as if someone wiped the mist off the mirror and they saw themselves for the first time.

Example of good work

This morning I stumbled over this excellent example of a job description, and given the quality of job descriptions that I am seeing daily, I thought it would be good to flag it up and link to it.

Job description of a website owner

It says clearly

  • what the person’s day looks like
  • what the job holder does
  • the decisions they make

It says clearly how each task contributes to

  • Work for the day
  • Long term planning

Get the organization organized

And now you might say, I would like to but this place is just not that organized –  the work changes from day-to-day.

Then that is your first job. To get it organized.

Actually, the organization is probably more organized than you think.  Wipe the mist from the mirror and let them see themselves.

Just write down what they do all day and sort it out.  It may take you a few hours but everything else in HR flows from there.

When the job description is clear, it is easy to

  • communicate with job applicants
  • select people who can and want to do the work (without discriminating)
  • pay equitably
  • train & develop
  • coach & manage performance.

In short, you cannot do your job until you have worked out what people do on the job.

And writing it down allows us to check that we have a common understanding.

That is our job.  To be the mirror of the organization so that we develop a common understanding and confidence in each other.

Collective efficacy, believing that the next person is competent, adds 10% to the value of an organization – and a 10% that cannot be copied by your competitor.  No money in the world can buy collective efficacy.  It comes from the continual work of developing  confidence in each other.

And we cannot be confident of each other when we each have a different idea about what we are supposed to be doing.

It’s as simple as that.

How did the story end?

Well, my former student’s eyes lit up as the penny dropped.  He went back to work and started delivering value to his line managers.

The firm did fold eventually (but not because of him).  Indeed, they kept him on to manage the redundancies.   When he was done, he joined Ernst & Young as a Consultant.  Then he moved to a bank and after that he started his own firm of consultants.

I hope you enjoy the job description. It is a fine example of good work.

PS I’ll tell you where the 10% comes from if you want.

Avatar as a role description

First day at Xoozya

Today is my first day in a new job and I headed off to HR to sign on the dotted line, get an ID card, and so on and so on and so on.

I had a pleasant surprise.

Induction at Xoozya

Good morning. Welcome, to Xoozya.  So glad you’ve chosen to join us [genuine smile].

To provide autonomy

What we want to do today is introduce you to the communication system so you can navigate and find your way around.

Avatars

To start you off, we’ve got 10 avatars for you to choose from.

Capture your role and aspirations visually

After you’ve been here a month, and had a chance to settle down, our avatar designer will pop in to see you for half-an-hour every day for a month to help you describe your role in the company.

Annual review

Every year, a year from now in other words, we will ask you to refresh your avatar, and to think through how it has worked for you and how it should change to fit your expanding role in the company.

Internal budgets

You can change your avatar during the year if you wish.  But we will charge you for your use of an avatar designer with Xoozya tokens.  You will also earn Xoozya tokens when you help people out in other ways.

Pay & taxes

Around the 15th of each month, you’ll need to make up your mind how much to pay yourself.

After you have chosen your avatar, we will show you how to log on to the accounting system to direct payment to your bank account.

Internal payments

Around about the 15th of each month, you should also allocate payments to your team leaders and anyone else you think should be hat-tipped.

Visualizing your budget

We have a very nice screen which shows you your budget.

It will show you clearly the budget allocated to you for the financial year,  the pro rata amount for this month, how much tax, insurance and pension you must pay for each dollar you pay yourself when you take money out of Xoozya, how much other people in the organization have hat-tipped you this month and cumulatively for the year, and how much you’ve hat-tipped them.

You can also look at their accounts to see what is the norm.  We visit all the noobes around the 13th of each month till you get the hang of it.

Day 1 Agenda

Agenda for today: let’s choose an avatar.  After that we’ll grab a a coffee and brunch.  Then we’ll have a  look at the accounts.

Avatars as a new world job description

What temporary avatars would you like to choose from on your first day at work?

If you were to capture your role in an avatar, what would it be?

What would you choose to describe yourself in that first month before you know anyone and before you are clear about the details of your role?

I would love feedback on this post.  If you liked it, would you do 1 of these 5 things, please?

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Hat-tip

To the ever creative Ned Lawence at Church of Ned who set this train of thought in motion!

To Wang Jian Shuo whose direct requests for links I am copying!

7 ways professionals help you recruit better

4 new jobs created!

Just before Christmas, I helped out a charity who needed an extra pair of HR hands to get the specs for 4 new jobs onto their website before the Christmas shutdown.

I spent a day poring over their project plans and notes and generated ONE four-and-a-half page document that

  • Summarized the project
  • Listed the project team
  • Described FIVE and only five responsibilities for the Project Manager and the Project Officers showing the links between the two levels
  • Named FIVE competencies which had the same headings for both positions
  • Distinguished the positions with sub-bullet points listing the competences without prejudging where candidates may have gained their experience
  • Pinpointed the minimal experience that someone would need to be promoted into the position
  • Made sure experience gained at one level was a clear promotion track to the next
  • Highlighted unusual contractual provisions
  • Outlined the selection process.

Hmm, everything for 4 jobs was on 4.5 pages except for the the pay levels and a template of the employment contract.

Today, the charity rang to give me some feedback..  These are the 7 benefits they spontaneously described.

7 benefits of a successful recruitment campaign

1.  The response to the advertisement was quick and good.

2. Candidates said they understood immediately what the job was about.

3. An interviewer co-opted from a sister charity said that if she had seen the job in time she would have applied for it!

4. Appointments were made to all 4 jobs on the first pass, yet another team recruiting at the same time, in the same organization, in the same town have not been able to appoint and are starting again.

5. Staff within the charity felt comfortable with the list.

6. Candidates felt they were able to talk about what they COULD do.

7. A broad range of candidates applied and the charity is pleased to appoint an ‘expert team’ of people who compliment each other.

Next steps in evaluating the recruitment drive

Of course, the final evaluation is whether the team clicks together and whether all four new members of staff are happy and productive.  I’m sure I’ll hear from them one way or another!

What other gains do we deliver for our clients when we assist them recruit staff?

How am I getting along with my one line job description?

Deal with work overload by writing a one line job description

Two weeks ago, I posted my system for dealing with overload. I wrote myself a one line job description “During 2009, I needed to achieve A, B, C, D and E, simultaneously”.

I wanted to stop today and tell you how this job description is working.

To refresh your memories – I began by taking all my goals for 2009 and putting them in a circle on a piece of scrap paper.   Amazingly, they clustered naturally into five groups.

Then I took the back of an old Christmas card, put 2009 in the centre, and drew five spokes.  I marked off ‘quarters’ for each spoke, and then months for the first quarter, and jotted down what I wanted to achieve.  I also labelled the spokes.  Then I propped the card up nicely below my second screen.

So how did it go?

Guess what?  I didn’t look at it again – for ten days.

When I did, my first thought was – oh, so you forgot about this pretty quickly!  Then I looked at the drawing more closely.

  1. Yes, on two spokes I am far ahead of my goals.  I am on target to achieve much of February too.
  2. On a third, I am doing fine and will achieve everything provided I don’t drop the ball.
  3. In the fourth, I am a little behind but there isn’t much too do.
  4. The fifth has been neglected but when I labeled the spoke, I had made it much clearer why I was doing this work.  With that in the back of my mind, I stumbled on a solution bye-the-bye in the course of other work.  I only expected to find the solution in months and months!  Now I can tackle the tasks on this spoke more efficiently and with more verve and energy.

Yes.  This works.  I’ve even redrawn the card and increased the goals somewhat.  I am my own worst boss.

I’m still busy.  And I will still  prune and prioritize.  But picturing has helped, a lot.

The next stage is to do this for another two fortnights, I think.

Come with me!

Anyone want to keep up with me and reduce their job to a 5×4 card?

UPDATE: As I tidy up this blog, I am also tidying up my office.  And I have lost my card.  I know one spoke is far ahead, one is very far behind but there is a clear way forward.   Two spokes have morphed into another project.  Can’t remember the fifth spoke.  It will be interesting when I find the card.

And then I will have the fun of seeing how far I have come – on each spoke and on reducing the feeling of being pulled in all directions!


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Frazzled? Get a one line job description

I don’t know about you, but the last two weeks have been pretty busy for me.  People are coming-and-going, new projects begin, tax returns are due (January 31 deadline for individual online returns in the UK) and I have all those New Year resolutions swirling around my heads, too.

Poet, David Whyte, talks about being so busy that every one around you appears to be too slow.  The person walking in front of you on the street is in the way; your partner left dirty dishes in the sink, again; you colleague, superior or subordinate has dropped the ball, again.

I hate it when I feel like that. I feel like that now, and I know my ‘job description’ is to blame.   It’s just too busy!

Prune

In December, I ruthlessly cut out anything that is rushed or disorganized.  I learned this trick from commercial bankers.  If you are in a hurry, the answer is No.  You are obviously disorganized and your project will fail.

And lest I forget, I staple evidence of disorganization to the front cover of the file!

But I have pruned and pruned, and still, I have too much that I want to do.

Prioritize

I spent much of my life working in universities.  It surprises most outsiders (and students) that the main job of university lecturers is not to teach.  They are required to teach adequately – I was even told by my Dean once – CHEAT don’t TEACH.

Research is their main task.  It is the only thing they can be promoted for and to protect this priority, people get up to work early in the morning and it is a big no-no to disturb any one ‘working at their papers’ or ‘in the lab’.

Admin or community service comes a poor last and tasks are shared and rotated.  Even being Head of Department is rotated.   You do your share, perfunctorily.  That’s it. And it is done in the afternoon.

I’ve tried priotiising, but I don’t have three goals.  I don’t even have five.  I got down to nine and the list has lengthened since the New Year.

My difficulty is that when I am doing one task, I am worrying about the others.  Once we get beyond entry level jobs, it is not the tasks themselves that is important, it is the interrelationships between tasks that are critical.  To shift sectors, triage is more important than task.  University lecturers add value by showing students where a field is going rather than by reciting the lecture they gave last year and the year before.

Picture

As yet I have never found a system that allows us to track the inter-related progress of several projects and whether we will achieve our grand plan.  What I do, when I need to work at this level, is draw my goals in a circle and imagine bringing all the goals in successfully at the same time.

Pictures are great for seeing interconnections.  Systems theorists are pretty good at drawing pictures of how the world fits together.

What I did this morning was to write my job description in one line.  A job description should only have ONE goal, shouldn’t it?  Basic Fayol.  This how it begins

My job is to achieve, simultaneously, .  .  .  .   .   .

I took a blank piece of paper and put 2009 in a circle in the middle and started putting my sub-goals in circles around the page.  Hey, presto, they fell neatly into five groups.  I thought some might fall away but they grouped quite naturally.

My next test was whether I could I set quarterly and monthly goals for each of the five groups.  I took another page, put 2009 in the middle and drew FIVE spokes, marked off quarters and months for the first quarter, and jotted down some notes.  Yep, this works.  And I got better names for the spokes, making it clearer what I do, why I do it and how each spoke makes the others possible.

And best still, the pull on my attention seems to have resolved a little.  The tasks that have been getting short shrift, somehow feel like they should be done first thing in the morning, though some can be prepared the night before, and the tasks that I enjoy doing but have more elastic timescales can be done in the late afternoon.

Mmmm, definitely worth trying.

Come with me

a) I’ve already said ‘no’ to one or two people this year (amazing), though in each case I’ve been able to follow through with a good introduction or significant friendly help.

b) My prioritization has sucked, but at least I’ve been aware of it. I’m feeling a bit better.

c) I’m testing out my one line job description: my task is to achieve simultaneously .   .   .

A picture would be better still.

Can you state your job description in one line?