I was at a party last weekend and someone asked me what I did. I gave the obvious shortcut answer and told them my job title. Not surprisingly they then asked what that really meant I did.
And that was a much harder thing to explain. I’m not convinced I did a particularly good job of explaining what happens in my day-to-day working life.
But the conversation started me thinking about how we describe work (as well as how meaningless or even misleading job titles can be as a shorthand for answering this question).
There’s one view of work that is about what you’re accountable for – the laundry list of things or measures that make up a job. Essentially this is the “buck stops here” view of a role.
Then there’s the activity-based way of looking at it – the “I do x, y and z” view of what work means. But that can sometimes be quite hard to capture succinctly when a role has quite diverse and flexible responsibilities.
And finally there’s a view of work that’s about what skills, experience and judgement you bring to work – the “I have x and y skills and have done z in the past” view of a working life.
My mind then headed back to something that I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about recently at work: value propositions.
And then that led onto some musings about what each of us brings to work expressed as a personal value proposition. What problems do we solve, who do we solve them for and why are we particularly suited for doing this?
It’s an interesting way of framing an answer to the party question about what do you do. It forces a focus on where we add value specifically in a particular work context and what we personally each bring to that.
Workwise this month, it’s felt like a continuing month of stabilisation, consolidation and pieces starting to fall into place.
In some areas that’s meant creating work backlogs and shaping teams to begin to address those backlogs, while in others it’s been about welcoming new team members who join us to help us move the organisation forward.
One particular area I’ve enjoyed spending time thinking about has been how we shape up internal communications for TPXimpact. This has been a gap for a while now that we’ve felt quite intensely, so it’s good we’re starting to make progress on improving our communications with colleagues. Plus for me, it’s been a return to an area of comms work I’ve not been involved with in such detail for almost ten years now.
Our wider leadership community has been doing some really thought-provoking inclusive leadership training with Nadya Powell and the team at Utopia. I’ve learnt a lot in the three sessions so far. One thing that’s really stuck with me is about how much inclusive leadership is about knowing and understanding yourself, as much as it is about being curious, respectful and conscious of others.
Music this month…
I bagged myself an Ebay bargain earlier in the month and so have added an active subwoofer to my office audio system. It’s really improved the sound quality and means a much richer bass than before.
While that makes quite a difference to my usual electronic musical choices, it’s also given me a good reason to try out a wider range of music than I’ve been working to recently.
A particular favourite has been Koffee’s album Gifted, which I’ve played several times while wrangling with budget spreadsheets this month. Reggae isn’t something I listen to a lot, but a positive online review led me to Koffee and I’m really enjoying her album and music.
Podcasts this month…
I’ve not done as much running this month as May, so my podcast listening hasn’t been as extensive. One podcast that I’ve been getting into has been Slo Mo with Mo Gawdat.
Mo is a really interesting host and tends to delve a lot deeper into the issue he explores on the podcast. His guests aren’t typically people I’ve heard of previously, which means each one feels like a bit more of an adventure into the audio unknown – which chimes nicely with my continuing mission to hear viewpoints beyond my usual information sources.
Reading this month…
In a mostly futile attempt to keep myself motivated for my ultra run training, this month I’ve been reading Don’t Stop Me Now by Vassos Alexander. It’s an easy read that’s quite inspiring as you learn about his journey into running from being a complete novice to a runner with a sub 3 hour PB for the marathon.