What do you do?

I was reviewing one of my daughter’s assignments, and in it she was asked what 3 careers would she be interested in and what people do in these jobs.  Here is her description of one:

I would like a career as a nurse because my Mom is one.  The duties are being on time for work and willing to do anything.

When people look at our jobs, it is good to hear what others think is important to do it well.  This is through the eyes of a 9 year old, but confirmed as accurate by the experts. 🙂

I have found that it is surprisingly difficult for people to identify the 5 most important things they do at their job.  I once made the mistake of setting aside only 30 minutes for an exercise with a group.  We needed 2+ hours.  My experience has shown me that when we ask this question, the response is either a high level summary similar to what my daughter provided above, or a detailed list of 20+ items along with an eye roll that sends the message I am too busy! 

This is why I incorporated this check-in for every talent management template I have published.  The performance conversation questionnaire, the one on one sheet, and the development plan.  In a world where resources are scarce, positions stay open for weeks/months, job absorption is very common, and people are afraid to say no . . . it is important to always be comparing perceptions.

Gallup’s #1 question for engagement – I know what is expected of me at work.  Be relentless in sharing/talking about this.  It will make a difference for leaders, followers, and teams. 

Some of the answers might also make you smile.