The list makes no sense without you

Try this: write down everything you currently do in your job.  Make a good, clear list with step-by-step instructions.  Imagine someone’s really going to read and use and follow this document.

Could they do it?  Could they follow all the steps and do what you do?

I hope not.

What you have to offer is so much more than a list.  We don’t need you to accomplish specified tasks that can be boiled down so succinctly.

We need the list to make no sense without you, because you are the one who makes things happen, who anticipates and makes things more joyful and surprising and unexpected for your customers and your co-workers.

We need the list to make no sense without you, because you naturally coach and mentor and advise and counsel people around you.

We need the list to make no sense without you, because even if some of the tasks seem small or less grandiose than you’d like them to be (right now), you do them with such relish, conviction, and quality that it always ends up being more than the sum of its parts.

We need the list to make no sense without you, because you are doing emotional work that has meaning and spirit and soul, and there’s no handbook for that.

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2 Responses to The list makes no sense without you

  1. Tanner says:

    I think Seth Godin make a powerful statement in his book “Linchpin” when he wrote:

    “In a world with only a few indispensible people the linchpin has only two elegant choices: 1. Hire plenty of factory workers and scale like crazy. Take advantage of the fact that most people want a map… 2. Find a boss who can’t live without a linchpin. Fine a boss who adequately values your scarcity and your contribution, who will reward you with freedom and respect. Do the work, make a difference”

    How true is that, right?

  2. Sasha, thank you for pinning down all the parts of a leader’s job that can so easily escape notice, but which are in fact providing the underlying energy behind each motion and emotion in our work. The little linchpins between all the moving parts. I was feeling a bit discouraged but I’m back to usual energy levels after reading this.

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