You or your organization may be plateaued if…
- If you or your coworkers have ever said, “that’s not my job.”
Imagine you’re playing football (or watching your favorite team) and your opponent fumbles the ball right in front of one of your teammates. But, rather than pounce on that loose ball, your player just stands motionless and makes no effort to make what could have been the play that kept your team from losing. Now imagine that when asked later why he didn’t make an effort to recover the fumble, your player says, “Well, my job is to tackle people, not to carry the ball.”
Of course, you (your teammates and your fans) would come unglued in frustration. Not my job? Sure, when the plays were designed it’s quite possible that we never designed a play that called on this particular teammate to run with the ball, but we’re trying to win a game and every opportunity to do so needs to be engaged by any and all of us, right?
Perhaps the sports analogy leaves you unmoved, but we all have likely met not-my-job guy. He’s the one who avoids extra effort and has never gotten within a mile of going the extra mile. Usually he (or she) sees opportunity as someone else’s responsibility and avoids the necessary effort to help his team or his organization win.
Frankly, organizations that are moving forward and experiencing growth seldom tolerate this guy for very long, but plateaued organizations have a way of tolerating him. In fact, individuals and even departments have a way of becoming “territorial” about their work. No one is allowed to touch what’s theirs and no one is allowed to expect them to touch what’s not. Such people tightly compartmentalize responsibility in a manner that limits their efforts to the minimums.
When an organization is not moving forward, its people stop moving forward too.
If you’ve been in a growing organization, you know that every day is characterized by an “all hands on deck” mentality or an “if you’re the closest…” work ethic. Now sometimes, we end up stepping on each other or acting a bit inefficiently when we don’t divide the work clearly, but such errors occur because of effort, not a desire for idleness.
If you’re people demonstrate a hesitancy to step up to assignments, if they look at others before making the play themselves, if they seem clearer on what they don’t do, then you probably have a plateaued organization. Never forget that not-my-job guy doesn’t work for a winning organization.