Don't Mistake Action for Accomplishment

One of the things I am coming to learn about working at a large corporation is the amount of red tape, amount of cooks in the proverbial kitchen, and seemingly endless amount of meetings and processes. These things aren’t any one individual's fault, it sort of just happens over time as corporations become larger and more complex. What individuals can control however, is how they use and focus their time. A bad habit that I have seen develop though, is mistaking action for accomplishment.

Simply put, people feel like they are accomplishing things because they are busy, when in fact they are accomplishing far less than they are capable of because they aren’t spending their time on the right things or asking the right questions.

So how does one go about changing this? As they say, change comes from within. I’m in the fortunate position where I can work on this consistently with my team and get us in a good place. I can work with others cross departmentally too, but getting full buy-in is much easier said than done, as I don’t control the full scope of work and prioritization of others outside my purview. Buy-in is a cultural change that to really catch hold needs to come from the top down – but even then it’s hard to break people out of old habits and processes.

I’ll end with advice I bombard my staff with constantly. Question everything you do. Is it moving the business forward? When I worked in sports I used to phrase it as, “build revenue, build the database, build the brand – if what you’re working on doesn’t do one of these things, then it’s probably not worth your time”.