Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Efficiency vs. Mastery

This is admittedly very similar to Be Shitty at Something.  In that last article I talked about something that we personally struggle with.  Whether that be running, or anything else you’re passionate about.  You need to be shitty at it before you can excel at it, and the mental approach to all of that.  This time around I’m talking about things we do in our day to day lives, whether that be work or personal that we maybe aren’t passionate about, and the tasks aren’t something we’re doing to better ourselves or for some sort of personal satisfaction.  I’m talking about tasks you do because you get paid to do them, or they are an adult requirement.  Now hopefully there is a fairly significant percentage of folks reading this that are thinking to themselves that they are passionate about the tasks they get paid to do.  On some of my tasks I feel that way, but there are still quite a few left on the table that I could never do again and be perfectly fine. (For you Office Space fans, think TPS reports).  These are the tasks I’m talking about today.
As some of you have followed, there has been a bit of turnover on my team at work lately.  With that turnover has come a steep learning curve for a lot of us that we’ve been having to hike up.  Obviously during this time different deliverables haven’t been making their way out the door quite as quickly as they once were, and this has caused some conversations amongst our team regarding how to solve this problem.  During this conversation something struck me.  We were trying to figure out ways to get efficient at something without even fully knowing what that something is.  After chuckling to myself viewing the problem in this light, the thought came to me, that you can’t have efficiency without mastery.  On top of that, any time spent on attempting to gain efficiency before you’ve gained mastery is a bit of a fools errand.
As I sat with this thought a little more, I began to think this is quite a bit like most of these time management slogans that seem to be steeped in common sense.  Of course you need to understand something before you can figure out how to do it better.  Then I thought of most of the conversations I’ve had at work or sat in on or listened to others share, and it seemed this little tidbit of info and acting on it would have saved quite a bit of time.  Take some time to understand something, get to the point where you can explain it in very clear and concise language.  Understand what can go wrong, what’s most likely to go wrong, and what’s the problem that this thing is actually solving.  Having those answers before you attempt to do something “better” will go a long way toward making sure better doesn’t set you back 3 steps.

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