“It’s not about the grade:” Seeing the bigger (business) picture
Another semester for my Master of Science in Communications Management from Syracuse University has begun, and I can see Times Square while I write this post as this residency is in one of my favorite places, New York City. As I look at those bright lights and see how many people from all over the globe are here, I’m reminded how small my corner of the world really is.
Break the cycle
Like in business, regardless if you’re working for a mega-corporation or a soloprenuer, there is so much more to what you’re doing every day than just your routine. With the day-in and day-out pressure of work and life, we get caught up in our mundane rut. We do a task just to do the task, not knowing why we’re doing it a certain way or how it fits into the overall business goal.
One of my professors told the class on the first day “it isn’t about the grade,” and I’ve adopted that phrase as my mantra for the semester. The benefits of obtaining higher education are numerous, but what’s the point if all we do is focus on the passing or failing route? My new mantra can apply to more than a semester, though. Like a business prospect or new technology, if you just concentrate on the implementation, you miss the how and why. To truly grasp that benefit, you have to take a step back and fully understand the concept.
Expanding your horizons
To get out of that rut, to not only do a task but appreciate its worth, you need to consistently re-analyze the how and why. Regularly ask yourself these questions:
1. How does it fit?
Whatever you’re doing, from updating social media platforms to securing media placement, it should fit into your overarching business plan. Take a moment to stop and determine how your work is doing this. Not only will this save you time, energy and resources by cutting out efforts that aren’t bringing you ROI, but it will also revive your enthusiasm about the task.
2. Why did I start this task?
Many times we’ve been doing something for so long, we don’t even remember why we began doing it in the first place. You could even be doing a task that has outlived its usefulness. At a former job, we were still faxing out press releases. When I stopped to examine the distribution list, many of the recipients had switched to an email preference. Taking that time to ask why, I was able to cut our faxing down by half to only those who still preferred that method. By reevaluating the usefulness of your tasks, you can determine what needs to remain in place, where you can add new projects, and what can be cut.
3. How can it be done differently?
After you’ve determined how the tasks fits into the big picture and why you started it and are still doing it, look at if how you’re doing the task is still beneficial. As with the faxing, emailing press releases and then sharing them on social media platforms became a better distribution method to reach media members. Be sure how you’re completing tasks is the best possible way to support your business goal.
Stop doing the mundane without knowing how or why it’s benefiting your business. Stop wasting precious time, energy and resources that can be spent elsewhere on tasks that are worthwhile. Get out of the rut and re-energize your work. Ask yourself these simple questions consistently and see the big picture. What tasks are you doing that can use some re-analysis?