Simon Terry

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The Obstacles are the Work

The bigger the barrier the more value you can create. Tackle obstacles with glee. They are the work.

Our Perfect Role Descriptions

Role Descriptions are a innocuous act of fantasy. They leave out the real work. Describing the ideal practice of a neatly described role in an ideal organisation, they focus on the known processes and relationships. They are read once on taking the job. Role descriptions rarely influence anything after because the actual work differs.

The real value in any work is the ability to handle the unknown and the unpredictable. Increasing complexity and uncertainty surrounds us. Obstacles to the smooth progress of business life are everywhere. The work is to solve them and keep moving.

The obstacle might take the form of a customer whose circumstances doesn’t fit. The obstacle might be an exception or a process breakdown. The obstacle might be a missing piece of data or a lost network connection. Fixing these things is not a distraction from the real job. It is the job. After all if a predictable process could run itself you wouldn’t be required.

Bigger Obstacles

The challenge in work is to hunt for bigger obstacles. Solving these barriers creates ever greater value.

Big obstacles might take the form of an ability to improve a process, to redesign a system to make it more effective or to find a way to something new. Fixing Big obstacles often clears away the small day to day issues that are their symptoms. Even harder big obstacles might involve persuading your colleagues or community to change, asking them to take on new mindset and behaviours to better their work.

Don’t worry if obstacles are getting in the way of ‘real work’. Obstacles are the work. They are an opportunity to lead change, to learn and to improve. Solve them and create value for yourself and others.


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