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Monday, August 24, 2009

How are you contributing to your organization?

We're all busy, aren't we? There's so much on our calendars that it feels there's not enough time in the day, especially when we're asked to do more with less. We go into meetings and brainstorm ideas to improve processes, increase efficiencies, and enhance ways to help our customers. Then we scurry back to our teams, back to our offices, and focus on what we need to do to complete the mission.

When we're so busy and so focused on getting our own jobs done, we often miss out on opportunities to strengthen the organization we're trying to help. There's a good chance that during the meeting we just attended, there was an opportunity to work with others -- some kind of initiative or project that needs doing and people don't have the time to do. We may have even suggested the idea ourselves, but when the time came to "pony up" and lead or join the project, we stayed quiet and let others shoulder the burden.

If we "pass" on opportunities outside our normal jobs every time they come up, we may be shortsighted. What could we have harvested out of being part of a project team?

  • We could have networked within the organization, learning more about others, building relationships, and possibly learning about opportunities that could help us move ahead in the future (just like networking on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Plaxo, as well as in person outside the company). The more people we know and work with, the stronger and richer our lives can be.
  • We might have broadened our scope of knowledge. Knowledge helps us be better, more well-rounded individuals who can live more fulfilled lives because of our experiences.
  • We could have used the opportunity to help the organization where we work...and where we hope to continue working. I don't think anyone would argue that we want to work at the most successful, robust organizations in the world.
  • We could have showcased our talent and abilities. We could have made deposits in our "credibility" banks and received kudos from the executives for our contributions.
  • We might have felt a sense of accomplishment that comes from working in concert with other talented individuals.

I don't think any bosses would expect we're on every work or project team that comes up. However, if we sit quietly every time there's an opportunity to contribute outside our own jobs, we may be missing the boat.

What do you think about membership on project or work teams? Do you think it's worth the extra effort?

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