the original was posted on linkedin, you can read the original here.
about two months ago I wrote a post espousing my thoughts on a concept that I refer to as the “philosophy of work.” the idea is simple enough: each one of us has a base set of assumptions about what it means for us to go about work or the ideas we think about how-are-we-supposed-to-go-about-doing-it (work-wise). these assumptions drive how we think, feel, act, and behave in work situations and when these assumptions are put to the test we find discomfort at work.
furthermore, these assumptions drive the cultural development of organizations. a start-up will develop a culture that reflects the “philosophy of work” of its founders. when a new ceo comes into a corporation, it is her “philosophy of work” that will set the tone and change the culture of that organization (marissa mayer’s first year at yahoo is a good example of this).
the concept was birthed out of a conversation i was unpacking with someone who reported directly to me. not only did the desire to articulate the concept of “philosophy of work” come out of the conversation, but a maxim that helped me best articulate my own philosophy: intent+opportunity.
my philosophy is simple: move forward with intent and seize every opportunity that presents itself.
the words methodical and calculating have been used to describe my methodologies (i was once described by two of my team members as, “lex luther, but nice”). this has manifested itself in my history of creating long-term goals and developing strategies around those goals that require time and patience. that is, if i believe a strategy/plan/whatever is the correct course of action i will hold fast in moving towards it over an extended period of time.
another way to describe intent, within the context of my “philosophy of work”, is that once goals and strategies are set (insomuch as they align with overall desired organizational outcomes) it is our responsibility to move towards those goals with all intents and purposes. this may sound like a no-brainer, but i would guess you know someone you worked for or with who did not do this (or did not do it well).
the key of how this plays out culturally for the divisions, departments, or teams i lead, is a set of almost manifesto-like dictums that are designed to move us towards those goals. no matter the length of time it takes, every action must move us along the path towards the end-game.
sometimes this may seem rigid, sometimes it may seem slow (but generally only in periods of time where there is little change happening or required).
while i find value in moving forward with intent, i also seize every opportunity to advance my cause swiftly, when those opportunities arise. quite simply, if in moving with intent towards some goal an opportunity to shortcut the process, or to take a quantum leap forward presents itself, i will waste no time in exploiting it.
this adds fluidity to my process. because of the long-term focus i adopt, i am able to roll with change, adjust strategies and daily work, and shift resources to respond when confronted with obstacles or change. because i am opportunistic, i am able to use those situations to my advantage to reach the end game quicker.
in identifying this philosophy, i am able to better understand those i report to and those that report to me. i know when talking to my boss what my “philosophy of work” is and can then better connect with them and understand where the potential conflict lies. with those that report to me, i can take the time and explain the why behind my methodology instead of assuming they think of things the way i do.
so what is your “philosophy of work”?