Does your role limit what you can do?
The responsibilities you were hired for probably determine the primary goals of your day-to-day work. But I’m a firm believer that they aren’t all that you can, or even should, do.
Imagine, for a moment, that you are a crane operator.
In this high-pressure role you are responsible for raising and lowering incredibly heavy loads based on instructions from a foreman.
One day, the foreman instructs you to lower the load to the ground. As you get ready to perform the task, you spy an abandoned vehicle precisely where the load will land. The foreman hasn’t seen the car. What do you do?
Think about it…then read onward.
Obviously, (hopefully?!), you don’t crush the car. But what else?
Would you try to figure out the root cause of the problem? Why the car is even there?
Is there an opportunity to improve the situation for next time? Maybe the signage directing work vehicles is misleading, or maybe there is a lack of security at the work site.
You could do only your assigned job, and in this case opt not to lower the cargo.
Or, you could make sure that vehicles are kept out of that area in the future and avoid another situation with a car where it doesn’t belong.
Which choice would you make?
Think about the role that you are in now.
Do you complete your work based on a precedent, or as you have been instructed? Is your current process based on the training you received from the person vacating the role, and was that person trained by the person before them?
A critical concept of Continuous Improvement is that the individual doing a task is most often the best person to figure out better ways of doing that task. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
So how often do you suggest changes to the way the work is done based on your own experience?
You can make a bigger contribution.
The job you do isn’t the only contribution you can make.
Look for opportunities outside of the scope of your role. Choose to realize improvements.
I think you’ll experience not only the success of making positive change, but also a level of job satisfaction and peer recognition that will prove that your work is more than your title.