Choose Your Focus


How important are job titles in your organization?

Do job titles dictate one’s position of value in the organization?

Where is your focus?

I’ve recently been working with a company undergoing a major restructuring. “Kate” and “Angela” held the same position in the organization prior to the restructuring. Both women have been with the company for about six years. In the new structure, Kate has been assigned the same job responsibilities she’s held for a while now, but her title has changed to what she perceives as a demotion. Kate recently met with her manager to complain about this change in job title, even though her salary and responsibilities remain the same. She asked permission to escalate the matter to the CEO of the company to see if “Senior” could be added to her title as a way to distinguish her level of experience. Kate spends a lot of time discussing how unhappy she is with the changes with her colleagues. Meanwhile, Angela has been given a significant promotion in the new structure. She will be in a new role with an increase in responsibilities and salary. Angela spends a lot of time meeting with her new boss, her peer colleagues in her new role, and finding ways to perform at a level that adds significant value to the organization.

Which person do you think is valued more by the organization? We can not control decisions made by other people around us. Time spent focusing on the small stuff (like job title) is guaranteed to produce less work output results than time spent focusing on the big stuff, like how we add value to our organizations. All the buzz phrases about giving a little extra, going above and beyond expectations, or my personal favorite, under commit and over deliver, ring true.

Where do you choose to focus your energy? Are you more like Angela? Or are you more like Kate? Do you recognize your colleagues?

What focus serves you best?

As you wrap up the summer and head into the final quarter of the year, spend a little time assessing your own choices when it comes to focus. Think about how you want to capture the attention of more senior members of your organization. Will it be from demanding recognition and title? Or will it be from adding so much value you become indispensable? As always, my friends, it’s your choice.

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