Don’t Give Up – Understand Your Impact


Do you hate your job? Do you feel like you are wasting your time on tasks that don’t challenge your skills and abilities? Are you thinking about your exit strategy?

While “take this job and shove it” is a great fantasy, it’s probably unrealistic for most people right now. So before you quit, I suggest that you evaluate the job that you are really doing.  Not the position you hold, but rather how well you have conducted yourself in that position. Are you really giving it your best work? Are you providing maximum value to the organization?

The day to day reality of our jobs rarely matches the word for word job description or our biggest expectations. Even if it dies, everyone has tasks in their job that they’d rather not do, whether writing status reports, scheduling meetings, or meeting with complaining customers. Often these tasks can feel pointless, beneath our level, or unimportant. When faced with these tasks, how do you maintain the enthusiasm to excel?

Understand your true impact. Ask questions to find out how what you are doing impacts others. Understand not only who the tasks serve, but what the impact would be if the tasks were not done well (or at all). You may find that a task that seems menial is in fact critical to someone else’s ability to meet their responsibilities. If you find that no one is impacted, you now have a solid case to alter or end the task that you can take to whoever requested the task.

Examine the processes for the task. Are you conducting your work efficiently? Are there changes that you can make to provide the maximum impact, or reduce the effort, or increase your impact with the same tasks? Be creative. Since you’ve evaluated the impact of the tasks, you can support well any changes you propose.

Increase your visibility. Promote the value of what you are doing. Find ways to use these administrative tasks to get to know senior managers or influencers. Demonstrate pride in the tasks and the impact they have no matter what. Rather than hide those aspects of your job, demonstrate your professionalism your excellence and pride in all of your work.

Conduct yourself with pride and excellence. A customer once asked me to set up meetings for his program. It was an odd request to make of a consultant, but it was part of our full service PMO function, and I was on site, so I took on the task. It was not a task I enjoyed. I soon realized however these meetings drove the work of the program. There were a lot of meetings. So I began conducting a weekly planning meeting with team leads and subject matter experts to prioritize meetings, identify critical attendees, and validate agenda topics. This led to better attendance, fewer cancellations, more work being done each week, and fewer misunderstandings. It also allowed me to influence the prioritization of the work, direct the use of the resources of the various teams, and have a direct impact on program schedule progress.

No matter what your assignment, always excel. Great achievements are built on many small actions. Make yours count.